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Full text of "The march of fate. A novel"

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THE LIBRARY 
' OF 
THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



^ 



THE MARCH OF FATE 



THE MARCH OF FATE. 



a IRorcl. 



UY 



B. L. FAKJEON, 

AUTHOR OK 

"GREAT PORTER SQUARE," "TOILERS OF BABYLON.' 
"A YOUN(i GIRL'S LIFE," "THE MVSTERY OF M. FELIX," &c. 



I.V THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. 111. 



LONDON : 

F. V. WHITE & CO., 
31, SOUTHAMPTON STREET, STKAND, W.C. 

1893. 



PRINTED BV 

KELLY AND CO. LnilTED, GATE STREET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, W.C, 

AND KINGSTON-ON-THAMES. 



^.3 



CONTENTS 



XTbe Jfoiutb Xinf?— IRetribution. 

CHAP. PACK 

XXIX. — The Palace of Tlkasure . . 1 

XXX. — Louis Rkdwoop's Wooing . . 19 

XXXI. — An Accident on the Stage . M 

XXXII. — HoNoiiiA in a New Chaisacteh . 47 

XXXIII. — At>elink Ducro/. . . . . H7 

XXXIV. -Mk. Haldane Kktikns . . «7 

XXXV. — JSiMPsoN and his 'rii's ... 97 

XXXVI. — HoNORiA Throws out a Challenge 1 13 

XXXVII.— The Race 131 

XXXVIII. — Agnes and Rachel in London . 153 

XXXIX.— Honouia's Luck . . . .168 

XL. — The Threads ahe Drawn Closer 178 

XLT. — The Lady of Chudleigh . . 190 

XLII. — Mr. Haldaxe Sells His Consent 204 

XLIII. — Retribution . . . .219 

XLIV.— Sisters 232 






THE MARCH OF FATE 



THE MARCH OF FATE, 



TTbe jfom-tb XlnFj-IRctdbution. 



CnAPTEE XXIX. 

THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 

It was the night before the Derby, and the 
Eo3\al Palace of Pleasure was crowded. 
Every portion of the palatial building, with 
one exception, was packed by an audience 
drawn from all classes of society, St. James 
and St. Giles and all their various interme- 
mediate grades being fully represented. To 
these mixed quahties, from the highly intel- 
ligent to the idiotically vacuous, the entertain- 
ment provided by the enterprising managers 
of the Eoyal Palace of Pleasure appeared to 
be equally palatable. Even the thoughtful- 

VOL. III. 31 



2 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

minded sat, and looked, and listened with 
apparent satisfaction. 

The one unoccupied portion of the music 
hall was a capacious stage box on the 0. P. 
side, which 'the habitual humble frequenters 
of the Palace of Pleasure regarded with some 
such feelings as they would have regarded 
the Throne Eoom of a real Eo3^al palace. 
That it was engaged and was intended to be 
occupied some time during the evening was 
evident from the preparations which had been 
made for expected visitors. Costly bouquets 
had been provided, and special programmes 
printed on satin ; and it was observed by the 
aforesaid habitual frequenters that new chairs 
with gilt backs had been put into the box. 
Communicating with this box at the back 
were two private apartments, completely 
hidden from the view of the audience, one 
a dressing-room for ladies, the other a 
saloon luxuriously furnished. At the present 
moment it was more than usually attractive 
with a display of glass, and fruit, and flowers ; 
and a promise of revelry was held out by two 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 3 

ice pails containing some dozen bottles of 74 
Ponnnery. 

" I .say Bill," whispered a woman to her 
nei^iflibour in the <jallery, " who's a-cominir to- 
night 'in that box there ? Some swells, 1 
should say, l)y the looks of it." 

"I did 'ear," replied l^ill, who was generally 
supposed to be gifted with witty and sarcastic 
power. " that 'er between-July-and-September 
Majesty the Queen is going to honour us with 
a visit, for the special purpose of 'earing wot's 
going to win the Derb}'. She's got a dollar 
or two she wants to put on." 

" Git out with yer," said the woman. 
" Wot d'yer mean with yer between-July-and- 
September Majesty ? " 

" Don't yer know ? " exclaimed Bill. 
" You've been nicely brought up, you 'ave. 
Wot month comes between July and Sep- 
tember ? " 

" August, o' course." 

" That's it," said Bill, chuckhng. " That's 
wot they call the Queen — her August Majesty." 

" Wot do they call 'er that for ? " 

31* 



4 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" There yer floor me," said Bill. " Blest if 
I know. The next time she comes to see me 
I'll arks 'er." 

" Wot's going to win the Derby, Bill?" 
asked the woman coaxingly. 

" D'yer think I'm going to tell yer for 
nothink ? " retorted Bill. " Not me." 

" I'll stand yer a pint, Bill, if yer give me 
the tip." 

" All right, old gal. The favourite's going 
to win, as sure as yer'ye got a 'ead on yer 
shoulders. I ain't going to break my jaw in 
pernouncing 'is name. It commences with A, 
and ends with A, and it's got a lot of A's in 
the middle. There's the straight tip for yer, 
and don't yer forgit it." 

" Ain't Morning Glory got a chance, BiU ? " 

" Morning Glory ! " exclaimed Bill, with 
intense feeling. " Not a ghost of a chance. 
I got it from 'Arry Lobb — he's in the training 
stable, yer know. Well, he ses, ses 'Arry, 
that the favorite's on the job this time, and 
nothink can stop 'im. I wouldn't tell it to 
everybody, but I'll tell it to you, 'cause you 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 5 

ain't 'arf ;i bad sort — put your bottom dollar 
on the favourite, and yerll see 'im romp in. 
I got four to one a month ago, and now it's a 
even chance. My brother the Lurcher ses he 
to me, he ses, ' If I wos you, Bill, I'd 'edge.' 
'Edge! Not if I know it. It ain't orfen yer 
git a certainty, and this is too good a thing 
to throw away. Wot do you think?" The 
speaker suddenly paused, and with two curled 
palms of his hands before his eyes made as 
if he was looking through a pair of opera 
glasses. " Wei], I'm blest ! D'yer see that 
bloke there in the box, looking at the 
flowers ? " 

« Yes, I see 'im. Bill." 

" That's Mr. Eedwood, as the favourite 

belongs to. I'll bet that's 'is private box, and 

that he's got a party coming to night. He 

used to race in the name of Larkworthy, but 

he sails in 'is own boat now. All through a 

woman, I've 'eerd, as he's nuts on." 

" Who's the woman. Bill ? " 

" You know 'er. Everybody knows 'er. 

'Onoria. She's a lucky one, she is — and what 



6 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

a beauty ! You'd like to stand In 'er shoes, 
you would." 

" Not my luck ! D'yer think it's 'er that's 
comino^ to the box to-nio-ht ? " 

" It's odds on, I should say."' 

" I am glad, that I am. I've never set 
eyes on 'er. I'd sooner see 'er than the 
Queen, that I would." 

" You'll see something when she sets in the 
box there with 'er back to the stage. She 
alwaj^s does that ; it's one of 'er tricks, and 
she's as full of 'em as an unbroken colt. Yes, 
you'll see something worth seeing. She's a 
blaze of dymens, she is ; the Princess of 
Wales don't dress 'arf as well." 

" And that Mr. Redwood there is sweet on 
'er. I can't say I like the looks of 'im." 

" You'd put up with 'im if he took a fancy 
to yer. Sweet on 'er I That's not 'arf wot 
he is. He's mad in love with 'er, and they 
do say she treats 'im as if he was no better 
than the dirt under 'er feet. 

"Ah," said the woman proudly, "she 
knows 'er way about, she does. Good luck 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE, 7 

to 'er ! The minute a woman gives way to a 
man he's readv lo set 'is 'eel on 'er. I've 
found that out, and if mv time was to come 
over agin them as made up to me would see 
the difference. I suppose Mr. Eedwood gives 
'er the dymens she wears." 

*' He fairly loads 'er with 'em. My Ijrother 
the Lurcher knows the sister of a servant of 
'er'n, and she tells 'im a lot. She's a rum 'un 
is 'Onoria in more ways than one. Some- 
times when Mr. Eedwood comes to see 'er she 
calls out 'erself, ' Tell ^Ir. Eedwood I'm not 
at 'ome.' That's cool, ain't it ? " 

" It's the way to serve 'em. lie must be 
very rich to give 'er all them presents." 

" There's no end to 'is money, and he's 
going the pace, he is. 'Ere's Baby Biffin. 
That's yer style ! " 

A performance on the trapeze had per- 
mitted of this conversation without disturbing 
the enjoyment of the audience, but the ap- 
pearance of Baby Biffin on the stage put an 
end to it. Baby Biffin was not a baby ; she 
was a woman grown, of goodly proportions, 



8 THE JVIAKCH OF TATE. 

and her age could not have been less than 
twenty-five. Nevertheless, she dressed (or, 
rather undressed), posed, and conducted her- 
self as a child of tender years, under most 
extraordinary and unnatural conditions, might 
by a miracle have done. The presumption is 
a daring one, and is made here merely 
because a large majority of the audience 
derived enjoyment from her performance, 
and saw nothing discrepant in it. She rolled 
her eyes, she minced and lisped her words, 
she pouted, she twisted her body, she sang in 
a fashion by no means infantile. A more 
complete parody upon the title she had 
assumed and was knovrn bv in music hall 
circles could scarcelv be conceived. In the 
display of her person she left little to the 
imagination, her actions were vulgar and 
coarse, her voice was brassy, her features 
were thick with paint, her hair (there were 
several heads of it) hung below her waist. 
There were rumours of her having entangled 
a young gentleman of noble lineage, and 
this was regarded as a distinction, and un- 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 9 

doubtedly added to lier popularity. During 
her singing and dancing she carried on a 
running interlude with vacuous swells in stalls 
and boxes, which fired them into immense 
enthusiasm. They laughed, they crowed, 
they clapped their hands, the}' wriggled their 
shoulders, they went into convulsions of 
delight, they threw flowers to her, they 
shouted the refrain to her popular song, " I 
am such a delicate duck, dear boys, Duck, 
dear boys. Duck, dear bo3's," and when she 
finally retired, throwing kisses to them from 
the tips of her fingers, which were plastered 
with rinses, she was followed with deafeninoj 
applause. The most harmless and enjoyable 
contributors to the entertainment in this 
Eoyal Palace of Pleasure were those who per- 
formed in dumb show — such as a slack rope 
dancer, an illusionist, and a Japanese, whose 
manipulation of knives, cups, balls, plates, 
and other requirements of his art, was mar- 
vellous. Of the others who sang and danced 
at least half were vulgar and coarse, and some 
indecent. It was not the words to which 



10 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

objection conld be taken — though they were, 
as a rule, silly enough, and utterly devoid of 
literary merit — but the actions which accom- 
panied them, the suggestive leer or wink, 
which conveyed into the words an interpre- 
tation which should never be allowed in a 
place of public entertainment. 

On this night less attention than usual was 
paid to the artists. In such places as the 
Palace of Pleasure the night before the Derby 
is a night of nights ; to many it is the night 
of the year. The excitement and animation 
were wonderful ; the prevailing dominant 
thoufrht was the race which was to be run 
to-morrow. The name of the favourite, which 
Bill in the gallery declined to pronounce, was 
Abracadabra ; the name of the second 
favourite was Morning Glory. Would the 
favourite win ? That was the burning, the 
almost vital, question of the hour. A wild 
delirium raged through the house, from floor 
to ceiling, from the back of the gallery to the 
back of the stage. The fevered pulses beat 
rhythmically : Would the — Favour — Ite win ? 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 11 

Would the — Favour — Ite win ? Would the — 
Favour — Ite win ? Everyone answered the 
question in the affirmative, and yet everyone 
continued to ask it of his neighbour. There 
was scarcely a person in all that vast multi- 
tude who did not have some direct or indirect 
interest in the race — a chance in a sweep, a 
bet or a share in a bet, from thousands of 
pounds down to a threepenny piece, and 
every speaking or singing artist who appeared 
upon the stage contrived to introduce the 
subject in a manner agreeable to the audience. 
In the next private box to that containing a 
bevy of painted harridans sat a doctor, an 
author, a soldier, and an editor, all of them 
famous, and these were discussing Abraca- 
dabra. In the stalls were young and old 
swells " seeing life," youthful members of the 
aristocracy fresh from college, coming or 
come into their fortunes, swindling hawks 
who were trackinsf them down, a lartje 
sprinkling of the demi-monde, la\v3'ers, visitors 
from the country, and other component parts 
of fashion and society, and these were discuss- 



12 THE xMARCH OF FATE. 

ing Abracadabra. In the pit were respectable 
working men and tlieir wiv^es, young artisans 
and tlieir sweethearts a-courting, clerks, shop- 
keepers, and others of the middle strata, and 
these were discussing Abracadabra. In the 
gaUery were shop-boys, work-girls, appren- 
tices, costermongers, labourers, and the 
sweepings of the streets and lodging-houses, 
and these were discussino- Abracadabra. Be- 
hind the scenes and in the dressing-rooms, up 
in the flies and down in the cellars, those 
employed in the Eoyal Palace of Pleasure 
were all discussing Abracadabra. Sprinkled 
over every portion of the house, before and 
behind the footlio'hts. were racino- men of hig'h 
and low degree, owners, trainers, jockeys, 
stable men and boys, touts, tipsters, book- 
makers, and hangers-on, and these, though 
they were in the swim, as the saying is, were 
all discussing Abracadabra. They were the 
oracles of the night, and the words that 
dropped from their lips were esteemed as 
pearls of price, and were passed around with 
profound admiration and respect. When the 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 13 

chances of other horses enfrajred in the trreat 
contest were spoken of, it was in a lialf- 
hearted, depreciatory fashion. Some said 
Morning Glory had a good chance ; a few 
said there was a dark horse in the race 
that wonkl open people's eyes ; instances of 
hot favourites being beaten, anecdotes of 
Hermit at sixty-six to one, and of other 
noted winners, were freely circulated ; but 
in the loni; run thev all came back to 
Abracadabra, whose glory it was impossible 
to dim. " It's a moral ; " " It's all over 
but the shouting;" "Have a bit on the 
favourite ;" this was the sum of all the eacrer 
talk. 

Naturally, when Mr. Louis Eedwood was 
observed in the stage-box, attention was 
drawn to him by reason of his being Abra- 
cadabra's owner, and the whisper went round 
that he stood to lose a hundred thousand 
pounds upon his horse. Some said he looked 
anxious, some said it made no difference to 
him whether his horse won or not, that he 
had enough money to sink a ship, and so on, 



14 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

and so on. 0})era glasses were levelled at liini 
as he stood in the box, gazing insolently upon 
the sea of faces. 

" That man is a study," observed the doctor, 
in the private box ; " you should make use of 
him." This to the author, who nodded, with 
his eyes fixed upon Mr. Eedwood's face. 

"He's an infernal scoundrel, I've heard," 
observed the soldier. 

The editor said nothinf^ • as he gazed he 
was thinkinf^f of men who once were hig-h, 
and now were low. 

A sound of voices and the rustlinf^ of skirts 
in the rear of the private box in which Louis 
Eedwood was standing drew him away, and he 
went and opened the door. 

" Honoria I " he cried, holding out his 
hands, with an eager light in his eyes. He 
was not acting a part ; for once in his life the 
man was genuine and sincere. 

" Ah, Eedwood," said Honoria, in a care- 
less tone. He offered to assist her in re- 
moving her wraps, but she said, " No, 
thank you," in her coldest voice, and turned 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 15 

to a gentleman who had accompanied her 
into the box, and accepted his assistance 
instead. 

" Good evening, Eedwood," said this gentle- 
man, ' 

" Good evening, Major," said Redwood. 

Major Causton was a middle-aged gentle- 
man, with a long tawny moustache, which he 
twisted and twirled when his hands were not 
otherwise employed. Ilonoria glanced at the 
two men and smiled. 

*' You are late, Honoria," said Eedwood. 

" Am I ? " said Honoria, and stepped to the 
front of the box. The stage was vacant at 
this moment, and the superb beauty of the 
notorious woman drew everybody's eyes upon 
her. 

" There's 'Onoria," said Bill in the gallery. 

" Why, you said she'd be a blaze of dymens," 
cried the disappointed woman. 

There was not a jewel upon Honoria. She 
was dressed in black ; straight, upright, and 
regally beautiful, she stood in full view of the 
house, perfectly unmoved and self-possessed. 



16 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

A group of artists in a corner of the stalls 
scanned her admiringly. 

" Cleopatra," said one. 

"Zenobia," said the second. 

" The Magdalen," said the third. 

" Which do you think is the most interest- 
ing study ? " asked the author of the editor. 

" The story of Honoria," said the editor, 
" should prove, from the cradle to the grave, to 
be one of the most remarkable of the age." 

" Don't talk of the grave," said the soldier, 
" in connection with that lovely creature." 
He turned red. There was a danjrerous mag- 
netism in Honoria, and her eyes were turned 
in his direction. 

" Are you acquainted with her history ? " 
asked the author. 

" Something of it," replied the editor. 

"I should much like to hear it." 

" Later on I will relate what I know. In 
some respects it is singular, in others common 
enough ; but it promises developments." 

" One can never foretell," remarked the 
doctor, " how these women will end." 



THE PALACE OF PLEASURE. 17 

" As a rule," said the author, " they 
suddenly disappear, and, after a torpid 
period, emerge as elderly ballet girls." 

" Or as lodging-house keepers," suggested 
the doctor. 

" That will nut be Ilonoria's fate," said the 
editor. " She will not degenerate into either 
a lodging-house keeper or an elderly ballet 
girl, living upon past glories. Have you seen 
her ride ? " 

" Yes, and she is a perfect horsewoman. 
You open up another possibility. She may 
become, for a time, the star of a circus." 

" That requires early training, in which 
respect Honoria is deficient. She is really 
remarkably beautiful. Nor is it a spring 
beauty, which perishes with the season. If 
she is careful of herself, her summer and 
whiter will l)e quite as attractive." 

" You are all talking heres}^" interposed 
the soldier, warmly. " I elect myself her 
champion. She is as good as she is beautiful." 
The others exchanged a significant smile, 
which did not escape the soldier's observa- 
VOL. iir. 22 



18 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

tion. " Where are diamonds found ? " he 
asked. 

'• In the most unUkely places," rephed the 
editor. 

" Washed out of the mire," said the 
soldier. 

"True — in the rough. But this one is 
polished. You have lived long out of Eng- 
land, and are ignorant of the A B C of certain 
phases of our civilized life. You will grow 
wiser by and by, and will think as we do." 

" God forbid ! " said the soldier, gazing 
earnestly upon Honoria. 



CIIAPTEE XXX. 

LOUIS redwood's wooing. 

" Do you like the box ? " asked Louis Ked^ 
wood, as Honoria seated herself. 

" It is like other boxes," she answered with 
an air of indifference. 

He bit his lip. " I had these programmes 
printed for you." He put one of the satin 
slips before her. "The flowers please 3'ou, 
I hope ? " 

" I prefer simple flowers," she said. 

" I will think of that next time." 

" I would not trouble myself." 

" You know^ the pleasure it gives me to 
consult your tastes, to gratify your washes." 

" Does it ? Major Causton, is that a man 
or a woman singing?" Her back w^as 
towards the stage, and she was surveying 
the audience. 

"An old w^oman," replied the Major, "in 

32* 



20 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

short skirts, casting amorous glances on 
gilded youth." 

" How ridiculous ! Causton is very 
amusing." Tliis observation was addressed 
to Eedwood. 

" Very," he said, with a scowl. 

" Copy him. You could not do better." 

" I will give you lessons, Eedwood," said 
the Major, with a broad grin on his face. 

" Thank you ; I do not require them." 

" You are mistaken," said Honoria, without 
glancing at him. " You require them badly. 
Does he not. Major." 

"I'll not venture to say," replied the Major, 
good-humouredly. " I find it difficult enough 
to steer my own boat." 

She laughed aloud, and played with her fan. 

" Honoria," said Eedwood, in an undertone, 
bendinor over her, " I will do anythinof to 
please you." 

" It does not look like it. Pray move 
away ; I don't wish you to come so close to 



me. 



" You are wearing me out," he muttered. 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING. 21 

" Give it up, then," she retorted scornfully. 

"I am not to be shaken off so easily," he 
said. "We shall see who will win in the 
end." '• 

" Yfis, we shall. There is, after all, a little 
enjoyment in a battle of this kind." He took 
out his cigar case. " If you begin to smoke 
I shall leave the box." He replaced the case 
with a savage look. " What is the stable 
news t 

" Evervthing is right. The horse was never 
better in his life." 

" You will will ? " 

" I can't lose." 

" Don't reckon your chickens. Redwood." 
There was no malice in her tone ; they were 
conversing now amicably. 

" I reckon these. There never was such a 
certainty. I've been offered twenty thousand 
for my book." 

" Lucky dog ! " said Major Causton. " You 
win at everything." 

" Not at everything," said Honoria. " Eh, 
Eedwood ? " 



22 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Don't be"in asfain, or I'll scratcli the 
horse at the last minute." 

"• You would never dare to show your face 
on a race-course again if you did," said 
Honoria. " But if Abracadabra were out of 
the race what difFdrence would that make to 
me?" 

" I'll tell you what you stand to win on 
him, if you like." 

"Yes, do." From her words it might be 
supposed that she took an interest in the 
subject, but her voice betrayed the most 
absolute indifference. 

Louis Redwood consulted his bettincc-book. 
" Twenty-eight thousand pounds," he said. 

" And to lose ? " 

" Nothino-. You know that well enoucfh." 

" Causton," said Honoria, " how much do 
1 stand to win on ' Morning Glory ' ? " 

" What ! " cried Louis Eedwood, white with 
rage. 

" A true bill," she said calmly, " I've 
learnt something of the world, and I play 
my own game. How much. Major?" 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING. 23 

" Thirty odd thou., my dear." 

" Stop that, if }ou please. Not even from 
you ; not even to vex Eedwood." 

" I throw ni\>L'lf at your feet, lady fair," 
said Major Caustoii, undisturbed by the check, 
" but if you will be so infernally bewitching, 
what can a poor beggar do ? " 

" Do you mean to say," exclaimed Eed- 
wood, " that }'ou've been backing ' Morning 
Glory ' without my knowledge ? " 

" There's no denying it, is there, 
Major ? " 

" There's no denying it, lady fair." 

" The Major," said Honoria, " has been my 
commission agent." 

" For how lonu' has this been croimr on ? " 
asked Eedwood. 

" Ever since you began to put me on 
Abracadabra." 

" You must be out of your senses." 

" Very much in them, dear boy," said the 
Major. " Very much in them. Lady fair 
has brains. Brains ! Handed if the word 
expresses it. Her intellect is eis'antic. 



24 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

There's no stopping her, dear boy. But I'm 
telHng tales out of school." 

"I have no objection to Eedwood's know- 
ing everything now," said Honoria, smiling 
on the two men — a smile which caused the 
soldier in another private box to mutter 
under his breath, " By heavens, she's 
bewitching ! " Honoria continued : " Make 
him acquainted with our proceedings, 
Major." 

'' Most interesting proceedings. Com- 
menced in February." 

" ' Morning Glory ' was at twenties then," 
volunteered Eedwood. 

"And twenty-fives, dear boy. Lady fair 
heard a whisper. A little bird came down 
the chimney, she said. A pretty fancy." 

" One of those childish fancies,"' said 
Honoria, with composure, gazing steadily at 
Eedwood, " that the children of the poor 
have. Did 3'ou know, Major, that I was once 
a ver}^ poor little girl, and sometimes had 
hardly enough to eat ? " 

" You don't say so, lady fair ? It is 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING. 25 

amazinix. But what a romance! You're 
joking, though." 

" I assure you I am not. Even up to the 
time r was eiuhteen I did not know what it 
was to have a sovereign iii my purse. I was 
a very unfortunate young woman." 

" You distress me, upon my honour you 
distress me. What an infernal hardship ! " 

"A very unfortunate, simple young 
woman," proceeded llonoria, very calmly ; 
"I believed everything that was whispered 
into my silly little ears. I believed in truth, 
in honour, in faithfulness — I believed even 
in love." 

" More and more like a romance. And did 
your lover deceive you ? Show^ me the man. 
I will make an example of him." 

" No ; the subject annoys Redwood. He 
would rather hear about that little bird." 

"It came down tlie chimney, she said, 
Eedwood, and whispered, 'Morning Glory, 
Mornino; Glorv.' She swore me to 
secrecy, and I put five hundred on for her at 
twenties and twenty-fives. She made other 



26 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

investments afterwards, when she won on the 
Lincohi, and a bit more two days afterwards, 
when she won on tlie Grand National." 

" When ' Abracadabra's ' number goes up," 
said Eedwood, " with ' Morning Glory ' fifth 
or sixth — that's about where he'll be — it will 
make a hole in your winnings. And serve 
you right." 

" Mistaken, dear boy, mistaken," said Major 
Causton. " We've hedged, and stand to win 
either way. That is all I am permitted to 
disclose." 

"You can tell him the other thing. Major." 

" About ' Abracadabra,' lady fair ? " 

" Yes." 

" I am to hear now," said Eedwood 
bitterl}', " that you've been laying against my 
horse. I hope you have. Don't come to me 
to get you out of the mess." 

" Wlien do you think that is likely to 
occur ? " asked Honoria, with quiet scorn. 
" I am not accountable to you for my actions, 
and I advise you to be careful in the tone you 
adopt towards me." 



LOUIS REDWOODS WOOING. 27 

" You're enough to drive a man mad," said 
Eedwood. "Go on with your story, Causton, 
as I'm bound to hear it. More little birds, I 
suppos'e." 

" You've fired straight this time, dear boy. 
Other liLLle birds come down the chimney, 
and whisper to lady fair that Abracadabra will 
be second in the Derby." 

" What wise little birds ! " sneered lledwood. 
" But we've heard that sort of thing before. 
A woman lies in bed the night before a big 
race, with her window curtain up. Waking 
.suddenly and opening her eyes she sees a 
star. The next day she relates her dream, 
and asks what star it was that shone upon 
her in the middle of the night, and is told 
it's Mars. .That's the name of a horse in the 
race, and it happens that Mars wins. ' I 
knew it would,' she cries. 'What a fool I 
was not to back it I I shall never get such 
another chance.' It is easy to prophesy after 
the event. If by some cursed stroke of luck 
Abracadabra is second instead of first Honoria 
wdll be mournino; that she didn't take advan- 



28 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

tage of the tip given to her by her little 
birds." 

" She has taken advantage of it, dear boy. 
She has accepted fair odds that Abracadabra 
is second, and second only. She stands to 
win a pot on it." 

"Indeed! I'll tell you what I'll do, 
Honoria. If Abracadabra is second in the 
Derby, I will make you a present of the 
horse." 

" I hold you to your promise," said 
Honoria. "You are a witness. Major." 

" I am, fair lady." 

" Is a witness necessary ? " asked Eed- 
wood, with suppressed passion. " Did you 
ever know me make a promise I didn't 
perform ? " 

"I do," said Honoria. " Carry your 
memory back, Eedwood." 

His face darkened ; he knew to what she 
referred. They gazed at each other in silence 
for a few moments and then Honoria turned 
to the stage, upon which a fresh artist had 
just made his appearance. 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING, 29 

He was the star of the evening, and the song 
he was about to sing had been in everybody's 
mouth, for weeks past. Men had reeled 
through the street singing it tipsily, errand 
boys had whistled it, policemen had hummed 
it on their nightly beats, it had been accepted 
as a charm, and its effect had been to con- 
siderably shorten the odds on the favourite for 
the Derby. In point of literary merit it was 
no better and no worse than the generality of 
such effusions, but it had brought additional 
popularity to the already popular singer, who 
had sung it night after night in three different 
music halls, the audiences in which had taken 
up the refrain with that unanimous enthusiasm 
which is a common feature in those places of 
entertainment when a song strikes their fancy. 
A single verse of the delectable stuff will 
suffice for an illustration, one rhyme being 
altered by the composer and singer in token 
of its being trolled out the day before the 
race was to be run : 



30 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Stake your last dollar, 
Pawn your shirt collar — 
Abracadabra 
Is first past the post. 
Beg, steal, or borrow. 
Back me to-morrow, 
Abracadabra 
Has got 'em on toast. 
Abracadabra, 
Abracadabra, 
Abracadabra 
Has got 'em on toast." 

The audience roared out the chorus at the 
top of their voices, and when the popular 
singer turned his back to them, and exhibited 
the letters of the horse's name so arrano-ed 
perpendicularly and horizontally that Abra- 
cadabra was spelt either way, the laughter 
and applause became deafening. He was 
recalled half-a-dozen times, and each time 
sang a fresh encore verse which he had pre- 
pared for his admirers. At length he was 
allowed to retire for good, and the audience 
calmed down somewhat. 

During^ this excitement Honoria had sat 
back in the box, in such a position that she 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING. 31 

could not be seen, and when comparative 
qniet reigned in the house, she asked Major 
Causton to (;all ]ier carriage. 

t 

" Going ? " inquired Redwood. 

"I must get some beauty sleep," was her 
response. 

" May I see you home ? " 

" Distnictly, no." 

" Honoria," he pleaded, " will you always 
treat me in this manner ? " 

" I haven't the least idea what the future 
has in store for me, or for you," she answered. 
" You will recollect a certain night when we 
met in Chudleifjh Woods ? " 

" Whv will you always dwell upon that ? 
Have I not admitted my blindness ? Have I 
not be2:<?ed you a thousand times to formve 
me ? " 

" I have never told you, I think," she said, 
" that I was near putting an end to myself 
that night, nor how I was prevented and 
saved ? " 

"No, you have never told me, nor do I 
wish to hear. Forget it, once and for all." 



32 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" I can never forget it. I can see myself 
standing on the little wooden bridge, looking 
down into the lily pond. I can see the re- 
flection of myself—" He had opened a bottle 
of champagne, and he handed her a glass. 
She took it from him, and gazed npon the 
sparkling bnbbles, bnt did not drink. "I 
will tell you some day. ... I was in rags, 
and almost starving. Very different from now, 
Austin " — a singular smile crossed her lovely 
lips as she addressed him by the old name — 
" I beg your pardon, I was forgetting — Eed- 
wood, I mean." 

" Have done," he cried, tossing off a glass 
of champagne, which increased the fever of 
thirst that was on him. " You have punished 
me sufficiently for my fault." 

" Do you know," she continued, relentlessly, 
" that I walked all the way from London to 
see you — I told you at the time, I re- 
member, and you said, how I must have 
enjoyed myself. I threatened to expose you, 
and you asked who would take the word of a 
thief and a wanton aiiainst that of a gentle- 



LOUIS REDWOOD'S WOOING. 33 

man ? You were right, liedwood. I did not 
know the world then. I know it now. Yes, 
I was not only a wanton ; I was a thief ; and 
yet you knew well I was neither. Give me 
your opinion of your conduct." 

" It was brutal," he said sullenly. 

" It was that, at least ; the word is too 
mild. ... I was in rags ; the soles were 
worn off my feet ; des|)air was in my soul ; 
death seemed my only refuge ! " 

" For God's sake," he cried, " talk of some- 
thing else ! " 

"But I want to remind you, Redwood," 
she said, putting down her untasted glass of 
champagne. "■ You said the little comedy in 
which we played the principal parts was 
linished. Why, Eedwood, it was only the 
first act that was over ; even now it is not 
hnished." 

She was suddenly interrupted. From the 
stage came a scream of agony, answered by 
shrieks from the pit. Instinctively they 
moved to the front of the box. 



VOL. III. 33 



CHATTER XXXI. 

AX ACCIDENT ON THE STAGE. 

The cries of pain and alarm were caused by 
an accident to a small band of acrol^ats who 
had been doincj- their " turn." Two athletic 
men, lying on their backs with their legs 
raised in the air, had been tossing; a diminu- 
tive boy from one to the other on the soles of 
their feet. The most difficult part of the 
boy's performance consisted in his being sent 
flying upwards by one of the men, and in his 
alighting in a standing position on the soles 
of the other man's feet. Before he aliorhted 
he had to turii a double somersault. He had 
twice missed his mark, and as it is a point of 
professional honour not to relinquish an act 
till it is accomplished, the boy was sent flying 
in the air a third time. But the little fellow 
by this time was exhausted and bewildered, 
and after turning the first somersault and a 



AN ACCIDENT ON THE STAGE. 35 

part of tlin serond he fell in a heap, his head 
striking the stage. Having given utterance 
to. his_ sharp scream of agony lie became in- 
sansiblfe. The answering shrieks in the pit 
had proceeded from his mother. 

When Ilonoria and Louis liedwood reached 
tlie front of their box, the two elder acrobats 
were bending over the boy, the curtain was 
bein<T lowered, the mother was clamberinix 
over the pit seats towards the stage, and the 
whole house was in confusion. The doctor in 
the opposite private box, which was on the 
pit tier, had made known that he was a 
medical man, and was being assisted along 
the cushions to the staije, 

Honoria, who had been behind the scenes 
of the Koyal Palace of Pleasure, knew that 
the wretched dressing rooms of this music 
hall could onlv be reached by means of a 
long narrow spiral staircase, and that it would 
])e a matter of time and difficult}- to carry the 
sufferer to a place where he could be properly 
attended to. She said hurriedly to Eed- 
wood, 



13* 



36 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Let liim be brought up here ; there is 
better accommodation and more room." 

Eedwood disappeared through a door at 
the side of the box which led to the staf^e, the 
free privilege of going behind the scenes and 
mixing with the performers being generally 
granted to those who occupied the principal 
box in the Palace of Pleasure. 

Honoria, after seeing that the sofa in the 
adjoining spacious room was free, waited at 
the door, through which, presently, the boy 
was carried. The doctor and his friends, the 
woman from the pit, and the two acrobats in 
their tights and fleshings, accompanied him. 
While the bov was beino- attended to, the 
manager of the music hall made his appear- 
ance upon the stage, and said he was happy 
to inform the audience that the lad was not 
serioush' injured, and that the performance 
would be continued ; and immediately after- 
wards the band struck up the tune of one of 
the most popular songs of the day. 

" Is he much hurt ? " asked Honoria, of the 
doctor. 



AN ACCIDENT ON THE STAGE. 37 

"A rib is broken," was the answer. "It 
will be best to take liiiii to a hospital." 

But against this proposal the woman from 
the pit, who was the boy's mother, violently 
protested. The boy should be taken home to 
her own lodgings, she said, and no one else 
should nurse and look after him. They strove 
to persuade her to adopt the more sensible 
course, but she would not be persuaded, and 
as her right to decide could not be disputed 
they were compelled to let her have her way. 
It appeared that the boy, a mere child about 
eight years of age, was comparatively new to 
the business, and had been hired out by the 
mother, a very poor woman, to the two 
acrobats, against whom nothing could be 
urged except that they were following a 
dangerous occupation. They were very much 
concerned at the accident, and were ruefully 
contemplating the prospect of having to break 
their eno-a2ements. 

" You said there wasn't a bit of danger," 
said the mother to them, with flaming eyes, 
" when you persuaded me to let you have 



38 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

liim. I wish Td bit m\ tongue off before I 
said yes." 

" It ain't our fault, mother," said one of the 
men. "You jest ask liini when he comes to 
whether we knocked him about, and whether 
he didn't hke us. If he'd been my own 
brother he couldn't have been better treated. 
It licks me how it ever happened " 

Eedwood w^ondered at the interest Honoria 
was taking in " tlie confounded affair," but 
he did not venture to express himself to that 
effect. The gentlemen from the opposite box 
all inwardh' commended Honoria, and if any- 
one had hard thoua'hts of her they were much 
softened by her behaviour on this occasion. 
Eedwood had opened a couple of bottles 
oi champagne in lieu of something better 
to do, but onh' he and the two acrobats 
drank. A little brandy for the lad had been, 
sent for. 

" How's he getting on ? " asked the manager 
of the hall, coming into the room. 

" He'll get over it," replied the doctor, 
" with care and nursing." He rose to his 



AN ACCIDENT ON TIIK STAGE. 3^ 

feet, and said to llouoria, "I can do nothing 
more for him at present, lie should be got 
home and put to bed as soon as possible." 

"Will it be a long job, sir ? " inquired one 
of the. acrobats. 

" It is impossible to say," replied the doctor, 
" but he will nut be fit for your kind of work 
aaain." 

The men nodded gravely and departed. 

" I will take the poor fellow home in my 
carriage,"' said Ilonoria to the mother, "if 
you won't mind." 

" Mind, miss ! " exclaimed the grateful 
woman. " God bless you for it. You've got 
a heart, vou have." 

" Will you come with us ? " asked Honoria, 
addressino- the doctor. 

"If you wish,"' he said. 

" I shall feel obliged. It will be a rehef 
and a satisfaction to his mother. Excuse me 
for saying that I make myself responsible for 
everything;." These last words were uttered 
to him aside. 

" There will be no expense so far as I am 



40 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

concerned," he said, gazing with curiosity 
and interest at her. "I shall be happy to 
attend to him till he is able to o;et about 



again. 






" You are very good." 

The doctor turned to his companions, with 
whom he had promised to spend the evening. 
The}' were to sup with him after the enter- 
tainment was over. 

" We will follow in a cab," said the soldier, 
" and wait outside for you." 

Honoria glanced at him, and the colour 
came into his face. It was he who carried 
the boy down to the carriage, and lifted him 
in. The mother and the doctor then stepped 
in, and after them Honoria. 

" What are we to do, lad}' fair ? " inquired 
Major Causton, who stood with Louis 
Eedwood at the door of the carriage. 

Eedwood was sullen and savage ; Honoria 
seemed to ignore his existence. 

" I am not at all interested in what you 
do," said Honoria, as she gave the mother's 
address to her coachman, who drove away at 



AN ACCIDENT ON THE STAGE. 41 

a .slow pace as he was directed, in order that 
the boy should not be jolted. 

Major Caustou looked at Louis Redwood 
and burst into a loud laugh. 

" Damn vou," cried Redwood, " What are 
you laughing at ? " 

" At myself," said Causton, heartily, " and 
you, and her, and the world in general. She's 
an original. I shouldn't wonder if she turned 
Sister of Mercy in the end. That woman, 
Redwood, is capable of anything." 

" If ever I get hold of her again," muttered 
Redwood, " I'll make her pay for it." 

Major Causton lit a cigar, and Redwood 
followed suit. 

" She's a match for half a dozen of us," 
said the Major, eyeing his companion 
thoughtfully. "I've seen something of 
women, but she puzzles me. Hanged if I 
can make out whether she's bad or good at 
the bottom." 

" You have nothing to complain of," 
observed Redwood ; "you are in favour just 
now. It's Major this, and Major that, and 



42 THE MA ECH OF FATE. 

Major t'other "with her all the time I happen 
to be by." 

" That's where it is," rejoined the Major, 
" all the time you happen to be by. She 
plays me off against you, dear boy. Don't 
you see ? She's got you tight by the gills, 
and she knows how to play her line if ever 
w^oman did. She has cost you a pretty penny, 
Eedwood. That's where I have the advantage 
of 3^ou. You are rich ; I am poor. I get my 
sport for nothing." 

" Sport, you call it ! " exclaimed Eedwood, 
savagely. " Infernal torture, that's what it 
is." 

•'You take things too seriously, dear boy. 
Look at me. Xothing puts me out. Lady 
fair smiles at me ; I smile in return. She 
frowns at me ; I shrug ni}^ shoulders. Be 
easy with her, as I am," 

" I can't ; it's not in my nature. When I 
set my heart upon a thing I grow savage, 
reckless, and I'm carried on against my will." 

" You're changed from what you were, dear 
bov. Not loncf since it would have been hard 



AN ACCIDEiVr ON THE STAGE. 43 

to match you for coolness. Now you're losing 
your head, and all through a woman. I say, 
what did you mean by saying if ever you get 
hold of her again ! That ' again ' opens a 
chapter of past history. Was there ever 
anything between you and lady fair ? " 

" That's my business. Mind your own." 

"Thanks for the hint. T will. And that 
reminds me that I'm in a light fix just now. 
Cleaned out at baccarat last night, and my 
I. 0. U.s flying all over the shop. Can you 
spare fifty, dear boy ? " 

"I'll i>ive you a cheque for it,' said 
Eedwood readily. 

" You're a prince with your money, dear 
boy," said Causton admiringly. " It is right 
that men like you should have it to spend. 
But don't oo the pace too lYist. For my sake, 
dear boy, for my sake. Can't afford to let 
you get knocked over ; should mourn it 
deeply. What do you stand to lose on your 
horse to-morrow ? " 

"Nothing. The horse can't lose. How 
did Honoria <2;et that infernal stuff into her 



44 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

head about Morning Glory being first and 
Abracadabra second ? " 

" How does she get anything into her head ? 
Do you suppose she takes me into her con- 
fidence ? It may look like it, but it's not the 
case. I've been takinsj the odds for her on 
both events — there was no harm in that. If 
I hadn't done it she would have shown me 
the door, and got some other fellow to do 
it." 

" You might have let me into the secret," 
said Eedwood, oioomilv. 

" Didn't dare to, dear boy. She swore me 
to secrecy. I give 3^ou my honest word, she 
made me take a Bible oath to it. It would 
have been dangerous to throw out a hint to 
you, dear bo3^ You can't keep your own 
counsel ; you would have let the cat out of 
the bag. She's drawn you out a dozen times 
without you knowing it, to discover whether 
I'd been blabbing." 

" I dare say you're right. It's true, I 
suppose, about the money she stands to win 
on her fancy ? " 



AN ACCIDENT ON THK STAGE. 45 

" True as gospel, dear boy." 
" She must have got a tip from some one. 
Have you any idea of the man ? " 

" I've no idea at all on the subject. She's 
got any number of tips from any number of 
people. All of us have. It's what brings so 
many of us to grief. My impression is that 
she is acting on her own fancy entirely, and 
she's not quite a fool, dear boy." 

" She's a fool in this matter, as she'll find 
out before this time to-morrow." 

" Well, the loss won't hurt her much," 
said Major Causton : " either way she 
wins a good stake. I suppose Beane's all 
ritjht." 

Beane was the name of the jockey who was 
to ride Abracadabra. 

" Damn him ! " cried Redwood. " Who can 
tell ? There's about one in ten of the whole 
lot of them that a man can feel safe with. 
They're too much for us in the long run, 
Causton." 

" They are, dear boy. Here we are at the 
club." 



46 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

As they stepped to the door a man in a 
maudlin condition passed by, singing : 

" Abracadabra, 
Abracadabra, 
Abracadabra 
Has got 'em on toast." 

" There's fame for you, dear boy," said the 
Major, laugliing. 



:^^^<^— S(^S-^J^ 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

lION'OrJA TV A NHW CHARACTER. 

" Till-: little fellow is comfortable now," said the 
doctor, " and I think he will do very well." 

" Will you come to-morrow, sir ? " asked 
the anxious mother. 

" Yes, I will see him in the morning. I 
will drop in on my way to the station. You 
are going, I suppose ? " He put this question 
to Ilonoria as he drew on his gloves. 

" To the Derby ? " she said. " Oh, yes." 

" I saw the owner of Abracadabra in your 
box. They say the horse is certain to win." 

" That is what he says himself. Have you 
backed it ? " 

'• I throw away a few sovereigns every 
year," he replied, with a smile, " on the Derby 
and the Leger, but I never put them on till 
the mornincf of the race." 

•' I fancy Morning Glory," said Honoria. 



48 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Do you ? I shall divide my investment, 
then." 

" Good-nifijht/' said Honoria, holdingf out 
her hand. 

" Can I not see you to your carriage ? " 
- " No ; I shall remain here a little while." 

They shook hands, and he went down to 
his friends, who were waiting for him in the 
street. 

" That woman is incomprehensible," he 
said to them as they walked away. " I never 
witnessed greater kindness than she is showing 
to those poor people." 

" One has only to look in her face," said 
the soldier, " to know what she is. You 
promised to relate her history." This to the 
editor. 

" To a certain extent it is wrapped in 
mystery," said the editor, " which makes it 
all the more piquant. What I know of it is 
from hearsay. You must promise not to 
quarrel with me." 

" I promise," said the soldier. " I can 
believe as much of it as I please." 



HONORIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. 49 

" To be sure you can. I aui not certain as 
to wlien Ilonoria appeared in our social 
firmament, but she has been common talk for 
some time past. Where she hails from no 
one appears to know. It is said that ]\Ir. 
Redwood, the owner of the favourite for the 
Derby, could let in a light upon it if he 
chose. Whether that is so or not I cannot 
say myself. Slie appears to be on intimate 
terms with him." 

" If 1 am a judge of signs," said the soldier, 
" he appears to be forcing his company upon 
her. It is evident to me that she regards him 
with aversion." 

" That may be. Nevertheless, scandal 
couples them together, and there is no doubt 
that he is pursuing her with his attentions." 

" By the way," interrupted the doctor, 
" she advised me to back Morning Glory, to- 
morrow." 

" I shall take her tip," said the editor, 
" believing Mr. Eedwood to be capable of any 
trickery." 

" I am with vou there," said the soldier. 
VOL. III. 34 



50 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Of course you are. lie is not the only 
victim to lier charms. Tiiere are a dozen 
infatuated gentlemen ready to throw their 
fortunes into her lap. I am not in a position 
to say that she gives them encouragement ; if 
she holds them off it makes the pursuit the 
hotter, as probably she knows." 

" I cannot commend vou for fairness," said 
the soldier, who was listening with evident 
impatience and disapproval. " You assert 
that you are acquainted with particulars, and 
in proof of this you are regaling us with 
tittle-tattle. You have heard this, jou have 
heard that. You are not in a position to say 
this, you are not in a position to say that, and 
yet, upon such an admission of ignorance, you 
make remarks which tend to place this lady 
in a bad liulit. It is a fashionable method of 
])lastin£j character." 

" My dear sir," said the editor, with mock 
solemnity, " would you turn a deaf ear to the 
voice of scandal ? " 

" An absolutely deaf ear," replied the 
soldier, indignantly, " when the strongest 



HONOKIA IN A NEW CliAIlACrEK. 61 

evidence that can be brougliL tu ,su[)port it 
is the kind of stufi" which you can retail 
out." 

Tiie editor was nettled. " Have you ever 
seen a 'lady in such a position as you have 
seen llonoria this evening? " he asked. 

" You mean," said the soldier, " occujjying 
a private box in a notorious music hall, in the 
company of men of doubtful reputation;-' I 
admit I should not like to see my sister there, 
but I believe that ladies of whom you would 
not presume to speak disrespectfully have 
been seen in music halls in the society of men 
not famous for morality. There were plenty 
of respectable women in the Palace of 
Pleasure, in pit and gallery and circle ; why 
should the circumstance of one appearing in 
a private box make her infamous P " 

" There is no arguing with this modern 
Don Quixote," observed the editor, recovering 
his good humour, " whose chivalrous defence 
almost converts me. But, indeed, I am by 
no means unkindly disposed towards llonoria, 
and I am inclined to overlook her faults 

o4* 



52 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

because of her virtues and her commendable 
quahties." 

" Let us have a review of these," said the 
soldier. 

" Eeport saj's that when she first burst 
upon society she was not remarkable for 
education. Since that time she has undergone 
a most wonderful improvement. Engaging 
capable tutors, she has learned to pla}^ to 
sing, to draw, and to speak modern languages, 
no worse and no better perhaps than the 
ordinary modern young lady of fashion." 

" That falsifies the presumption that she 
has a vicious mind." 

" I thoroughly agree with you. It is not 
her mind, but her antecedents " 

" Of which you know nothing." 

" The antecedents which vague rumour 
ascribes to her, and also the style in which she 
lives, keeping horses, carriages, servants, all 
contribute to the scandal which, justly or 
unjustl}', attaches to her name. On the other 
hand, it is known that she is charitable ; she 
gives to the poor, she contributes to deserving 



HONOIUA IN A NEW CHAKACTEK. 63 

institutions. Upon the whole, if I commenced 
with the intention of traducing Honoria I 
have made a bad case of it, as you will 
admit. If she ever comes to grief I, for 
one, shall be sorry to hear it. I hope," he 
said, turning to the soldier, "I have made 
amends." 

" What you have said," replied the soldier, 

" strengthens the good opinion I have of her. 
There is not a ladv in the land who could 

have acted more kindly than she did towards 

that poor lad who met with the accident. 

And now you must all come with me, and 

have a bit of supper." 

And the incident being thus pleasantly 

terminated, they plunged into other topics 

upon which there was no divergence of 

opinion. 

These gentlemen were not the only persons 

who were talking together on this night of 

Honoria and the unveiled story of our life. 

Our old friends, Mr. Millington and Mr. 

Barlow, were among the audience in the 

Eoyal Palace of Pleasure. They had come 



54 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

in late, just as the accident occurred, and had 

seen Honoria lean forward over h.er box. 
" There's Honoria," said Mr. Barlow, " and 

Mr. Eedwood with her. She is sendini? him 

away. What for, I wonder ? " 

They soon learned the reason. The news 

of Ilonoria's kindness quickl}' passed through 

the house, and reached their ears. 

" She's a trump, that woman," said Mr. 
Barlow. " I saw her carraige in front. Let 
us go and see what she's up to." 

Mr. Barlow was a privileged person ; he 
had free admission to man}^ places of enter- 
tainment, the Eoyal Palace of Pleasure being 
among them. By virtue of this privilege he 
conveved Mr. Millington to the back of the 
boxes, and there they witnessed something of 
what has alreadv been described, and heard 
the rest. Without being themselves observed 
thev followed Honoria and the bov's mother, 
and the little band of gentlemen who had 
been present while the doctor was attending 
to the little fellow. Standing near the 
carriage the}' heard the address of the poor 



HONOKIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. 55 

woman given to the coachman — No. 7, Wel- 
lington Street, South Lambeth. 

" That's curious," said Mr. Barlow, as the 
carriage drove awa}-. " \\'as it No. 7, 
Millini^noii ? " 

" Yes," replied Mr. Milliiigton, " that was 
the number. Why is it curious ? " 

" I'll tell you presently ; it will interest 

you." 

His attention was now centred upon Mr. 
Louis Hedwood and Major Causton, who were 
standing on the curb, looking after the 
carriage. lie had heard the Major's laugh 
and Mr. Hedwood's angry exclamation. 

" She has left them out in the cold," said 
Mr. Barlow, chucklinir, " and friend lied- 
wood is ready to cut somebody's throat. 
There's an instance of retributive justice, 
Millington, whether you believe in it or 
not. The man who made Honoria what 
she is, and would have lauirhed to see her 
starve and rot, would give every shilling 
he has in the world to make her his slave 
again.'' 



56 THE MARCH OF i'ATE. 

" You don't believe he has any hold on her 
now ? " asked Mr. Millino-ton. 

" No more than I have ; less I should sav. 
It's she that's got a hold on him. She has 
been playing with him ever since that night 
we saw her at the theatre, when he made up 
to her and she gave him a look I can see now. 
It was when you gave up the Haldane com- 
mission, you know." 

"Yes," said Mr. Millington, "I remember 
the night. You took me in the afternoon to 
Eotten Eow, where Honoria was riding-. " 

" That's the time. From that day to this 
she's been leading him a dance, and she has 
played her game so cleverly that he has 
become almost desperate. Who would have 
thought she had such a head ? 1 would give 
something to see her ruin him completel}^ — 
and it's on the cards, Millington, it's on the 
cards." 

" Wh}^ doesn't he give her up ? " 

" He can't. He has never been fought in 
this way before, and the longer the battle 
goes on the madder he grows, and the keener 



HONORIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. 57 

liis longing to become her master once more, 
lie hcis been able to do as he liked witli other 
women, but this one keeps him at bay. I call 
it a fine revenue." 

" She takes his money, I've heard," said 
Millington. 

" She does, and laughs openly in his face 
all the time. It's my opinion she would like 
to see his horse beaten to-morrow. There's 
nothing that woman wouldn't do to humiliate 
and madden him. Millington, I've a fancy to 
go to 7, Wellington Street, just to reconnoitre 
Will you come with me ? " 

" With pleasure. George is out courting, 
and will not be home till late, so I shall not 
be missed." 

" Ah," said ]Mr. Barlow, " that's a long 
engagement between him and pretty Eachel 
Diprose. We haven't been much together 
latel}^ you and I, MiUington, and we have 
plenty of things to talk about. They're pretty 
constant to each other, those two, but is it 
likely ever to come to anything ? " 

" I hope so," replied Mr. Millington, " and 



68 THE MARCH OF Jb'ATE. 

SO do they, of course. Though, for obstinacy, 
and sticking to her word, there's not a girl 
within a hundred miles of us to equal Eachel. 
Says George to her, ' Don't let us wait any 
longer, Eacliel. I'm in a position to maintain 
a home, so let us go to church, and get it 
over.' 'No, George,' says the steadfast 
young woman, ' I've made a vow never to get 
married till my dear mistress is settled, and I 
mean to stick to it. You're a foolish fellow 
to keep 3^ourself tied to a girl like me. Look 
out for another wife, George, and let us 
shake hands and say good-bye to each other.' 
Of course George won't listen to anything of 
the sort ; he makes himself as cheerful as he 
can be under the circumstances, and says 
that nothing but death shaU part them. Miss 
Haldane does her best to persuade Eachel to 
do as George wishes, but Eachel won't give 
way. And so it goes on. I don't like to see 
George and Eachel wasting the best part 
of their lives, but it can't be helped it 
seems. There's no understanding women, 
Barlow." 



IJOXORIA IN A KEW ClIAKACTKK. 5'J 

" It's difficult, I grant," said Mr. Barlow, 
contemplatively ; " the}- have wa3's of their 
own, but they're not always wrong. IIow is 
Miss Haldane <]^ettin<if aloni^ ? " 

" She and Rachel make just enough to live 
upon. I suspect she would be in sore straits 
if Rachel left her." 

"That's what makes one admire Rachel. 
It's hard lines for George, but if the marriage 
ever comes off, she'll make him a rare good 
wife. How is Miss Haldane's sweethearting 
getting along ? " 

*' About the same as Rachel's. Youn^r Mr. 
Palmer, 3'ou know, went to Australia to make 
his fortune, and came back poorer than he 
went. He is (j^oini? to make a great name one 
day, they say, but at present he and his father 
just manage to rub along, liut when things 
are brighter with them, which I've an idea 
will be the case before long, Miss Haldane's 
promise to her father that she will not marry 
without his consent, is likely to stop the way. 
Everything," said Mr. Millington, passing his 
hand across his forehead with an air of 



60 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

vexation, " seems to be in a tangle. I give up 
thinking of tlieni sometimes." 

"Talk of the devil!" cried Mr. Barlow, 
looking after a man who was crossing the 
road. 

"What's the matter?" inquired Mr. Mil- 
lington. 

" This is a night of coincidences," replied 
Mr. Barlow, ' and I believe in coincidences. 
Do you see that gentleman there ? " 

"That one shamblini? alono- on the other 
side? What of him?" 

" It is Ml. Haldane himself. He has 
come back. What little game will he be 
up to now ? " 

Mr. Millington ran across, and passing the 
gentleman spoken of without drawing atten- 
tion upon himself, returned to Mr. Barlow. 

" It's Mr. Haldane, sure enough. You 
know more about him than I do. Let me 
into the secret, Barlow." 

"There isn't much of a secret about it," 
said Mr. Barlow. "When the Chudleigh 
estate fell into the hands of Mr. Eedwood, 



IIONORIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. Gl 

our flue ireiitleiiiaii there made himself scarce. 
Went abroad and kept there. Now, he's 
back attain. " 

" He" may have been in London some time, 
for all you know." 

"1 think not. Although that commission 
I was enfja(:fed on for Mrs. Kennedy fell 
through, I have kept myself posted up as well 
as I could with everyone concerned in it. 
You will recollect that I thought it the most 
interesting case I ever had to do with." 

" You never told me why it fell through. 
Barlow." 

" It's soon told. At the time Mrs. Kennedy 
put the case into my hands she had money. 
What did the foolish lady do but allow herself 
to be persuaded to invest the whole of her little 
fortune in some South American mine. Crash 
went the concern, and swallowed up every 
sliillimz she had. She came to me with tears 
in her eyes, and said she could not prosecute 
the matter any further. She was in my debt 
over £50, and she owes the money still. 
Thei'e bein<i no funds, I could not go on, of 



C2 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

course, and there was an end of the affau' so 
far as I was concerned. Of all the men and 
women we got to know through 3'our com- 
mission for Mr. Haldane and mine for Mrs. 
Kennedy, only two have managed to keep 
themselves afloat — Mr. Eedwood and 
Honoria. It was a terrible come down for 
the Haldanes, but I've an impression we 
haven't seen the end of it. Here we are in 
Wellinsfton Street. There's Honoria's carriasje 
waitinoi: at the door of No. 7. That's what I 
mean by a coincidence. In that very house 
lives Mrs. Kennedy and her adopted daughter, 
Adeline Ducroz. You can't have forgotten 
those remarkable letters of hers I gave you 
to read ? " 

" It isn't likely I could forget them. How 
do these two ladies live ? " 

" Mrs. Kennedy takes in needlework, and 
they starve on it.'" 

" What does the other one do ? " 

" Drink. You know what a dipsomaniac 
is, MilUngton ? "• 

" Yes." 



HONORIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. 63 

" That is what Adeline Ducroz is — that is 
what she was when Mr. Haldane under the 
assumed name of Julius Clifford, deserted her 
in Paris — that is wdiat she was wdien she was 
wandering throuuh the Continent. She is 
now irreclaimable. All Mrs. Kennedy's 
efforts to cure her of the awful habit — 
which is more common than }ou suppose — 
have ended in failure. 13ut the good lady- 
has not abandoned her ; she has under- 
taken a terrible responsibility, and does 
not shrink from it. She W'Orks lor the lost 
creature day and night, nurses her, watches 
over her as well as she is able to, and 
still hopes against hope. It is a dreadful 
burden.'"' 

" I can imafjine nothini;- more dreadful," 
said Mr. Millington. " Barlow, if I don't 
mistake, you once had an idea that Miss 
Haldane was Adeline Ducroz's daug^hter ? " 

" I did." 

" Are you of the same opinion still ? '' 

"Upon my word," said Mr. Barlow, looking 
up at the windows of No. 7, " I hardly know 



64 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

what to think. I have seen Adelme Ducroz 
on several occasions, and I can see no likeness 
between them. But Adeline Ducroz as a 
woman and a confirmed drunkard, and 
Adeline Ducroz as a young girl in whom the 
awful vice was absent, must be two different 
beings. To see her as she is can give one 
no idea of what she was, and it seems a 
crime to associate so sweet a ladv as Miss 
Haldane with a creature so lost and degraded. 
Here is Mrs. Kennedy coming out of the 
house now." 

A grey-haired woman, her face lined with 
care, issued from the door of No. 7. She 
carried a bundle, and afier an anxious 
upward glance was walking away when Mr. 
Barlow stepped forward and accosted her. 
ISot many words passed between them, but 
Mr. Millington saw Mr. Barlow slip something 
into her hand. 

" She has just finished a dress for a private 
customer," said Mr. Barlow, rejoining his 
friend, " which must be delivered to-night. She 
is in great anxiety because she fears she may be 



IIONORIA IN A NEW CHARACTER. 65 

kept out late. She says she left her daughter 
asleep, but she is not easy in her mind about 
her. Lt is supposed in the neighbourhood 
that they are really mother and daughter. 
Another proof of her wonderful kindness to 
the lost woman." 

"If she is in a drunken sleep," said Mr. 
Millington, " it is likely she will not soon 
awake." 

" If she is," said Mr. Barlow. " That's 
where the doubt comes in. You have 
no notion of the cunning of these dipso- 
maniacs. One is never safe with them. The 
odds are that she is only pretending to be 
asleep so as to get her protector out of the 
way." 

" Wliat would be the good of that ? She 
has no money to obtain liquor." 

" Oh, she'll beg, borrow, or steal it, or 
perhaps take something from the room to seU 
for crin. Let us be io^crincp Millino-ton. We 
shall do no ijood remaininf^ here. It is kind 
of Honoria to stop with that poor httle 
fellow who met with the accident. By-and- 
voL. III. 35 



66 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

by, old fellow, when the account is reckoned 
up, there's man}" a good deed will be set 
down to the credit of the woman that 
scoundrel Eedwood brought to shame. 
Come along " 



CUAITER XX XIII. 

ADELINE DUCROZ. 

It was very near inidniglit before Iloiioria 
prepared to take her departure. She had 
done much in the meantime to assuage the 
mother's anxiety, and to make things easy 
for her and the injured Lad. Impressing into 
her service a shatternly girl who Hved in the 
house with her parents, Honoria had sent her 
out half-a-dozen times to purchase what was 
required. Every time the girl went out 
Honoria discovered something else that was 
wanting, and every time she came back she 
was sent out again to obtain it. The pleasure 
Honoria conferred by her kindness was 
nothing compared to the pleasure she 
derived from administering it. She moved 
about the room as if she had lived in it all 
her life, and as if she were quite accustomed 

3o* 



68 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

to that kind of existence. The mother, who 
rejoiced in no less common name than Smith, 
for the most part looked on in wonder at 
Honoria's proceedings. The lad opening his 
eyes once or twice, also gazed in wonder at 
the beautifully - dressed lady until fatigue 
caused him to close them again ; finally he 
fell into a sound slumber, from which he was 
not likely to awake till morning. Between 
whiles Honoria had extracted from Mrs. 
Smith the whole of her histor}^ She was a 
widow with one child, and being very poor 
had consented to let the acrobats have him 
for a term of years upon an ascending scale 
of washes, commenciniy at four shillino-s a 
week. The lad was nearly at the end of his 
first year, and upon his four shillings a week, 
which she received regularl}^ and as much 
charing as she could obtain, his mother 
managed to live. 

" It is a hard life," said Honoria pityingly. 

"It is hard," said Mrs. Smith, "but it 
might be worse. My Jack's spoilt for his 
trade now, poor bo}', by what the doctor said. 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 69 

He was so fond of it, too. lie commenced 
tumbling about when lie was two years old, 
and JjL'fore he was three I was always catch- 
in <j: him standinjf on his head. He fjot 
regularly talked about, and people called 
him the little clown. Those men got to hear 
of him, and when they came and offered to 
take and teach him the business I thoufiht it 
was as good a thing as could happen to him. 
It's hard to know what to do with one's 
children, but I'm glad he's a boy instead of a 

girl." 

" Yes," said Honoria, looking steadily at 

the mother, " you are right to be glad of 

that." 

She listened to a noise without, the voice of 
some creature shrieking out a song, the words 
of whicli were not distinguishable. 

" You'd get used to that noise," remarked 
Mrs. Smith, " if you lived in the house. Don't 
let it trouble you. It's only Mrs. Kennedy's 
daughter." 

" It does not trouble me," said Honoria, 
*' but there is something very pitiful in the 



70 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

sound. Mrs. Kenned^^'s daughter ! Surely 
not a young girl ? " 

" Oh, no, a woman as old as I am, but I'm 
thankful that I'm not like her." 

" Is she sober ? " 

" I don't know. She never is if she can 
help it. When she's not sober, she's mad." 

"Always?" 

"Nearly always. I've seen her two or 
three times as near in her ritrht senses as she's 
ever likely to be, and I've fairly started at the 
change in her." 

" In what respect ? " 

" Well, if you'll believe me, she was more 
of a lady at those times than any of us. 
Quiet too, and well-spoken. There was once 
when Mrs. Kennedy managed to keep her 
right for nearly a week, and if you'd seen 
her then you'd have pitied and wondered at 
her. But there ! A kind lady like you 
would be ready to pity anyone in mis- 
fortune." 

"Never mind that. What I have done 
has been to please myself. I am glad I was 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 71 

at the theatre to-iiight when your boy met 
witli his accident." 

" You iriean the music-hall," Mrs. Smith 
said, and then hesitated. When her son was 
carried up to the room adjoining Honoria's 
private box she had not caught the name of 
the lady who had proved so kind to her, her 
anxiety rendering her deaf to everything but 
her boy's danger. The whole of the time 
Honoria had been with her in the one room 
she occupied hi this humble house she had 
not addressed her as " Miss " or " Madam," 
beinsj doubtful which would be ris^ht. It was 
this doubt that caused her to hesitate now, 
and Honoria, understanding that she had not 
completed the sentence, looked at her with a 
smile. " May I take the liberty of asking," 
said ]\irs. Smith, " whether vou are a married 
lady ? " 

" I am not married," replied Honoria, very 
readily. 

" That's what's been botherincr me, whether 

CD •' 

I ought to call you Miss or not. You can't 
be more oiad, Miss, that you were at the 



72 THK MARCH OF FATE. 

music-hall to-nio-lit than we've "'ot occasion 
to be. My boy couldn't help meeting with 
the accident, I suppose. What is to be, will 
be ; and as it was to happen, your being there 
was a windfall to us — though I can't quite 
make out. Miss, why you ought to be glad." 

" Can you understand," asked Honoria, 
" that it is a real pleasure when one woman 
can help another ? " 

" You mean, Miss, when a rich lady can 
help a poor woman ? " 

"If you like to put it that way, yes." 

*' That's one way of looking at it certainly, 
but it only proves more and more what a 
kind heart you've got. There's that Mrs. 
Kennedy's daughter going it again. Just 
listen to her." 

Honoria stood at the door a moment or 
two, listenino- to the wild sino-ingr some words 
of which came now to her ear. 

" Why," she cried, " she's singing a French 
song." 

" She can do that, Miss, and talk other 
foreign languages ; and so can her mother. 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 73 

It's a sad pity thej-'ve come down so low. It 
isn't lialf as bad wlien you're born to it ; 
then you don't expect much, and you get 
acc4istomed to things, but to be born well ofT 
and accustomed to having everything you 
want, and then to come down to poverty's 
door — I can understand how hard it must be, 
thouiih it isn't mv own case. I don't know, 
Miss, whether you see it as I do." 

" Why shouldn't I be able to see it as you 
do ? " asked Honoria. 

"Well, Miss," replied Mrs. Smith, her 
adminng eyes taking in every detail of 
Honoria's dress and beauty, " it's easy to see 
you've never known want." 

" Have I not ? " said Honoria, with a 
singular smile. "Are you something of a 
fortune-teller, then ? " 

" I can tell your fortune by the cards," 
said Mi's. Smith. 

"Which is sure to come true," observed 
Honoria. 

The woman laughed. " Sometimes it does, 
sometimes it doesn't. That's as it happens." 



74 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

"Never mind the future," said Honoria. 
" Tell me about the past — my past. I have 
never known want ? " 

" I should say that's certain, Miss." 

" A lady born ? " 

"Yes, Miss." 

•' Just think. Do ladies go to such places 
as we met in to-ni^-ht ? " 

" Why not, Miss ? I'm a respectable 
woman, poor as I am, and I go into the 
pit — with an order. Miss ; I couldn't afford 
to pay. You're a lady and you go into the 
swell parts. Fine feathers make fine birds, 
they say, and most people believe it. I don't. 
If you don't know how to wear the feathers, 
you're soon found out. If I dressed myself 
as a lad}^, having the chance that'll never 
come to me, why, they'd spot me at once. 
' You a lady ! ' they'd cry. Now, there's 
Mrs. Kenned}' and her daughter. Here they 
are, living upon next to nothing ; they've got 
the worst rooms in the house, an attic at the 
top, and I don't suppose after paying the rent, 
that they've more than six or seven shillings 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 75 

a week to live upon. They've been in want 
of a crust they have. But for all that, 
and though they've got no more clothes 
than they stand upright in — and they're 
notliing to brag of — you couldn't mistake 
that they were born ladies, and brought 
up so. If they were to come into money 
to-morrow, and the daughter would only 
keep from drink, they would know how 
to wear their fine feathers — ^iust as you do, 
Miss." 

" Tell me something more about these poor 
ladies," said Honoria, earnestly. " Mrs. 
Kennedy works for a living ? " 

" As hard as the hardest of us ; stops up 
half the night sewing, when she can get it to 
do." 

"Sewing ! Has she a sewing machine? " 

" A sewing machine ! Why, where should 
she 2!"et one from without a farthin«' in her 
pocket ? " 

" I forgot. And she stops up working 
half the nio-lit, stitchino- stitchino- — there's a 
sono- about that I dare sav vou've heard of. 



76 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

And though she works so hard the wolf is 
always at their door ? " 

" That's it, Miss. They're happy ones 
who've never seen the beast." 

" Like me," said Honoria, smiling again. 

"Yes, Miss, like you." 

" I must be going now ; you must try and 
get some rest." She slipped a half-sovereign 
into the woman's hand. " Is there anything 
more I can do for von ? " 

" You've done all you could, Miss," said 
Mrs. Smith, with tears in her eyes, " and I 
don't know how to thank you." 

" Don't try. My visit has done me more 
good than it has you." 

" It's a pity there's not more like you, 
Miss." 

A smothered sound, half sob, half laugh, 
escaped from Honoria, but she was quite 
calm and composed almost in the same 
breath. 

"You may be wrong there," she said, 
taking up her gloves. 

" No, Miss ; I'm right ; but it's like you 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 77 

to make light of what you've done. Shall 
we see you agaiu ? " 

" Not to-moiTow ; I shall be busy ; the day 
after. Good-nitjht." 

'\ Good-nio-ht, Miss, and God bless vou." 

Ilonoria, closing the door behind her, did 
not go downstairs to her carriage, but up- 
stairs to the attic, in which Mrs. Kennedy's 
dautrhter was still sincjinfi' fitfully, but more 
softly now. The stairs and passages were 
dark, and she had to feel her way by the 
balustrade. A human form, lyim; across the 
stairs, impeded her progress, and started up 
as it was touched by her foot. 

" Who's that ? " a voice enquired. It was 
the slatternly girl she had employed to do 
her errands. 

" I am going up to Mrs. Kennedy's room," 
replied Honoria. 

" Oh, it's you, lady ! Ill show it yer." 

" What are you lyino" on the stairs for ? " 
asked Ilonoria. 

" To prevent 'er going out if I can," said 
the girl, with an upward jerk of her thumb, 



78 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

which Ilonoria could not see. " Mrs. Kennedy 
gives me a ha'penn}^ for it. She's a good sort 
is Mrs. Kennedy. It ain't safe for 'er to go 
out by 'erself." With another upward jerk 
of her thumb. 

" Why isn't it safe ? " 

" She ain't to be trusted a minute by 
'erself," whispered the girl. " Mrs. Kennedy's 
afeerd she might do somebody a mischief." 

" Is she violent, then ? I understood she 
was harmless." 

" She ain't done nothink up to now," said 
the girl, still in a whisper, " but there's no 
telling when she's going to begin. And she's 
that artful ! " 

If Honoria could have seen the o-irl's face 
she would have seen an expression upon it 
signifying that for artfulness the woman 
upstairs had not her equal. 

" Show me her room." 

" Take 'old of me, and mind 'ow yer step. 
There's 'oles in some of the stairs. The 'ouse 
is coming to ]oieces, it is." 

The room was as dark as the staircase, and 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 79 

when Ilonoria entered it, which she did alone, 
the slatternly girl keeping by the open door, 
she could see nothing of its occupant. 

"Go downstairs and ask Mrs. Smith to lend 
me a candle." 

" Ain't you afeerd ? " 

" No, go at once." 

The mr\ slid down bv means of the 
creaking balustrade, and presently Mrs. Smith 
herself came up with a lighted candle. 

"You can't do her an}' good," said the 
woman, shaking her head. 

" Oblige me, and leave me alone with her." 

"I'll wait outside." 

Honoria taking the candle from her, closed 
the door. 

A woman, crouching by the miserable 
mattress on the floor, peeped cunningly 
through her fingers as Honoria approached 
her. She was much older than Honoria had 
supposed her to be ; her clothes were of the 
poorest description, but bore evidence of neat 
mending and patching ; her grey hair, also, 
though she had it pulled over her face, where 



80 THE xMARCU OF FATE. 

it Iiuiiq; stragirliiifif down, must have been 
regularly combed and brushed. The room 
was clean and tidy ; it was a work, living, and 
bedroom, all in one, and contained, for furni- 
ture, but two wooden chairs, a deal table, and 
the bed on the floor, but there were no traces 
of disorder apparent. In the dumb signs 
that met Honoria's eyes there was no degra- 
dation, but distinct evidences of poverty 
bravely borne. The degradation was in the 
woman's face — a bloated face, with swollen 
cheeks and lips, and bleared eyes. The hands 
she held before it trembled and twitched ; 
they were not the hands of one accustomed to 
menial work ; they were small and shapely, 
and in the woman's whole appearance, miser- 
able and degraded as it was, there seemed to 
Honoria to be a singular assumj^tion that she 
had not been always so low and vile as at the 
present time. 

" Are you ill ? " asked Honoria, pityingly. 

The woman slowly removed her hands from 
her face, and stroked Honoria's dress. 

" Let me whisper to you," she said. 



ADELIxXE DUG ROZ. 81 

Honoria was startled by the voice. It was 
so thick and guttural, and so difficult to 
understand, that it sounded scarcely human. 

" Speak out," said llonoria, " there is no 
one near." 

"There is," said the woman. "A devil is 
hiding — there in that corner ! — he will come 
out when you are fjfone. lie must not hear. 
Let me whisper." llonoria bent her head. 
" Are you a lady ? " 

"I am a woman, as you see." 

" Have you money ? " 

" Yes." 

" Give me a shilling. They starve me ; 
they don't give me anything to eat. Give 
me a shillin"-." 

" I will get you some food." 

"I don't want food — I want a shilhncr. 
Give me sixpence. Look at me ; I am shaking 
all over. I want medicine ; I can go out 
and buy it. Give me twopence." 

Honoria did not know immediately what to 
do. She felt that the degraded creature 
wanted the money for drink, and yet she 
VOL. III. 36 



f2 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

seemed impelled to give it to her. It was 
only by an effort that she restrained the 
unwholesome prompting. 

" No," she said, " I will not give you 
money." 

The woman was evidently accustomed to 
such refusals ; she threw herself full length 
on the floor, her face downwards, and bego-ed 
no more. 

Honoria lino-ered a few moments in the 
room ; she was sincerely desirous to relieve 
the poverty so plainly visible, but she could 
not do it throuo-h this lost creature. On the 
mantelshelf she saw a little stone bottle of ink, 
and a pen by its side ; there was also a worn 
blotting pad as she supposed. She took it 
down and opened it. There was neither 
writing paper nor envelope there ; in their 
place was a photograph which, though faded, 
had seemingly been carefully preserved. It 
was the portrait of a young woman, dark, and 
full-blooded as she was herself. The sweet- 
ness of spring was in the face and eyes, but 
it needed not that to render it beautiful. It 



ADELINE DLJCROZ. 83 

was one of those rare faces which, under 
fortunate circumstances, would not lose its 
attractiveness with advaucinj^ aije. llonuria 
gazed at it for many moments in silence. 
This silence alarmed yivs. Smith, who was 
standing in the passage, waiting for Ilonoria. 
She knocked at the door, and receivinf<- no 
answer, gently opened it and advanced into 
the room. Ilonoria was so absorbed in the 
picture that she did not turn her head ; she 
had not heard the opening of the door. 

" What are you looking at. Miss ? '' asked 
Mrs. Smith. Ilonoria, aroused to conscious- 
ness, laid the portrait down. " Oh, the 
picture," said Mrs. Smith. " You'd hardly 
believe it was hers." 

" Hers ! " echoed Honoria, contemplating 
the prostrate form. " Is it possible she was 
ever like this ? " 

" It's her picture, taken when she was a 

young woman. And now I look at you '" 

But she paused suddenly, and snapped her 
lips together. " Are you coming down. Miss. 
You can't do any good here ? " 

3G* 



8i THE IMAECH OF FATE. 

" You were saying," said Honoria, " ' and 
now I look at you,' but you did not finish." 

'• It's nothing, Miss. I'll light you down." 

" But I wish to hear what was in your 
mind. Oblige me, and complete the sentence. 
There can be no harm in it." 

" Of course there's no harm in it," said Mrs. 
Smith, with a curious hesitation, "but it 
mightn't be exactly pleasant." 

" Oblige me and say what you were about 
to say." She took the portrait in her hand 
again, and held it out to Mrs. Smith. 

" I was going to say, if you'll forgive me 
for it, that it's not unlike you. It's a foolish 
fancy, and I don't know how it ever came in 
my head," 

" I don't think it's fancy ; it struck me as 
I was looking at it. Is it like Mrs. Kennedy, 
too ? " 

" Not a bit. Mrs. Kennedy is quite a 
different sort of wom.an. There's a good 

many that don't believe " Again she 

broke off m the middle of a sentence. " We'd 
best talk downstairs," she said, in a low tone. 



ADELINE DUCROZ. 85 

" You wouldn't think she was listening, but 
it's my belief she hears every word we say." 

"Yes," said llonoria, "we will talk down- 
stairs." 

She cast a last compassionate glance at the 
prostrate woman, and left the room with Mrs. 
Smith. 

" They do sa}'," she prompted 

" That there's no relationship at all between 
Mrs. Kennedy and the woman she calls her 
daughter." 

" But why should she work for her as slie 
does ? Why does she make herself a slave for 
her ? " 

" There's the mystery. We don't worry 
ourselves about it. We've got enough 
troubles of our own." 

" Yes, you must have. Can j-ou give me a 
sheet of paper and an envelope ? " 

" Yes, Miss." 

This is what Honoria wrote : 

" One who sincerely sympathizes with Mrs. 
Kennedy, and is desirous to further assist her, 
requests her acceptance of the enclosed. In 



86 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

the course of a few days the writer will place 
herself in communication with Mrs. Kennedy." 

The " enclosed " was a bank note for five 
pounds. Honoria fastened the envelope, and 
addressing' it to Mrs. Kennedy, requested Mrs. 
Smith to give it to her upon her return home 
that night. It happened, as Honoria stood in 
the passage, about to take her departure, 
that the street door was opened with a latch- 
key, and a woman was heard ascending the 
stairs. 

"That's Mrs. Kennedy's step," said Mrs. 
Smith. 

" I do not wish her to know," said Honoria, 
" that it is I who left the note for her." 

" Very well, Miss." 

The light fell upon Honoria's face as Mrs. 
Kennedy came up to her, and a startled look 
flashed into the elder woman's eyes. She 
stood on the top of the stairs gazing at Honoria 
till she passed out of the house. 



CliAPTEE XXXLW 

MR. HALDANE RETURNS. 

Louis Redwood and Major Causton went to 
a great many places that niglit, after Ilonoria 
liad given tlieni the cold shoulder, as the 
gallant major expressed it, and did not stop 
lomx in any. There was a certain theatre 
where liedwood, as a particular friend of the 
manao'er and lessee, was welcome behind the 
scenes, as at the Eoyal Palace of Pleasure, 
whenever he cared to show his face there, and 
as a matter of course any friend he took with 
him was also welcome. Eedwood had seen a 
great deal of life, and was still seeing it, but 
it was only with its darker shadows that he 
was familiar. The theatre to which he took 
Major Causton owed a great deal to him, 
literally owed a great deal to him, for it was 
mainly by his cheques that it was kept going. 
Now-a-days many young G'entlemen of fashion 



88 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

and fortune think it the proper thing to do to 
back a youn^ actor who is ambitious to 
blossom into a star, and in more cases than 
one the result has been satisfactory. There 
are other theatres, kept open l)y a layman's 
money, in which the end to be obtained is not 
so laudable, the aspirant therein being an 
empty-headed female who imagines that a 
very liberal display of her person will atone 
for her lack of brains. It was in a theatre of 
this kind that Redwood and the Major idled 
away some twenty minutes. To do Louis 
Redwood justice, he had no particular feeling 
for the empt3^-headed female who ruled oyer 
it ; he spent some of his money in a theatre 
of this kind because it was accounted the 
proper thing to do, as aboye stated, and 
because anything of a higher aim, with an 
intellectual end in yiew, would not have 
suited his tastes. 

" Why, here's Louis ! " exclaimed the female 
he was backing, when he and the Major made 
their appearance. " How are you, old 
chappie ? " 



j:r. haldane returns. 89 

Redwood, surveying lier with the air of a 
master who is not too well pleased with his 
■bargahi, gave her an indolent nod, and 
drawled out, 

""My friend. Major Causton." 

"Glad to see you, Major," said the female, 
who was nothing if she was not vulgarly 
familiar with every man who enjoyed her 
polite society. She was what is termed a line 
woman — that is, there was plenty of her. She 
was arrayed as Ganymede, and she made it a 
boast on certain cala niulits that it was not 
stage wine she handed round, but real spark- 
ling champagne. Truth to tell, she had 
about as much regard for liedwood as he had 
for her ; she knew her reign was coming to 
an end, but it had served her purpose, for she 
had " hooked " a brainless swell, who had 
commenced to waste his fortune upon her, 
and who would go on recklessly doing so 
until he came face to face with ruin. This 
favoured one was behind the scenes when 
Eedwood came in, and looked very black at 
what he deemed an intrusion. Eedwood took 



90 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

no notice of him, however, and at the end of 
twenty minutes left the field. 

" So far as I am concerned," he remarked 
to Major Causton, as they walked away, " the 
theatre will close next week. I am about 
sick of the affair. " 

" Wonder you ever had anything to do 
with it," said the Major. 

" I made a promise," said Eedwood, quietl}^ 
" and I stuck to it. I generally do, whatever 
the cost." 

" When you make up 3'our mind to a 
thing, dear boy, you generally do stick to it." 

" It's mv way ; I never give in." 

They were both thinking of Honoria when 
they made these remarks, and the Major was 
debatino- who would win. It was a battle 
between them, he knew, though he did not 
quite understand the rights of it. Had he 
been pinned to a declaration he would have 
been inclined to back Honoria, for whose intel- 
lect, as well as for whose beauty, he had an 
intense admiration. 

"From the theatre they proceeded to two 



M]{. HALI'ANE RETURNS. 91 

clubs, of wliicli both were inenibei's. In one 
a Derby sweep was being drawn, the first 
prize, in which was a thousand pounds. As 
they entered the room the name of " Mr. 
Louis Eedwood " was called out, and then the 
horse was drawn — Abracadal)ra. 

" By the Lord," exclaimed Major Causton, 
*' you're in luck, dear bo}' ! " 

A murmur ran round when it was seen 
that the owner was present, and envious con- 
gratulations were poured upon him. lie took 
it all ver}' coolly ; the lucky draw did not 
stir him in the least. 

" I should have been equally pleased," he 
said, " if I had drawn a blank. Whv did not 
one of vou fellows cet niv horse ? " 

" Here is mv name called out," cried the 
Major, excitedly. " A blank, of course." 

But, no ; he drew Mornino- Glorv. 

'"' Three cheers," he said, rubbing his hands. 

"Will you change. Major?" asked Eed- 
wood. 

Major Causton was about to say, "Done," 
but suddenly pulled himself up. " No, dear 



92 IHE MARCH OF FATE, 

boy," he replied. " Everybody will know 
I've drawn Morning Glory, and it will be 
almost like throwing Honoria over not to 
stand by the horse." 

" As you please ; you will repent it." 

"I hope so, for your sake," said the Major, 
rather ruefully, Eedwood's tone was so con- 
fident. " I shall be satisfied if I'm placed." 

Upon leaving the second club they visited 
Eedwood expressed his intention of going 
home, saying he had had too many late nights 
the last week or two, and wanted to be fresh 
for the mornino-. 

" I have to drive Honoria down, you know," 
he said. 

" You might do the amiable, dear boy, and 
invite me ; it will be better than going down 
by rail." 

" 0, you can come ; there will be room for 
you on the drag." 

" Thanks," said the delighted Major, always 
ready to enjoy himself at another man's 
expense. " By this time to-morrow night we 
shall know where we are." 



IVIR. HALDANE RETURNS. 93 

They parted at the door of Ked wood's 
chambers, where our old friend Simpson, who 
had. taken service with him after Mr. Haldane 
had gone to the wall, was arranging certain 
matters for the drive to Epsom. Simpson 
had changed very little, except that he was 
slyer and sleeker than ever ; his foxlike eyes 
looked up as his master entered the room. 

'• Give me some champagne and Appoli- 
naris, Sini}).son." 

" Yes, sir." 

Eedwood did not usually treat his cham- 
pagne so, but he wanted a long drink, and it 
was the most harmless he could take 
Simpson waited until he had emptied the 
glass, and then said : 

" There's been somebody here to see you, 
sir." 

« A lady ? " 

" No sir, a gentleman," said Simpson, with 
a sly smile. 

" Let him go to the devil," said Eedwood. 

" Yes, sir," said Simpson, and said no 
more. He was by this time well acquainted 



94 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

with his master's moods, and never opposed 
them. 

Louis Redwood ht a cigar, and paced the 
room. 

" EvervthiniT will be ric^ht in the mornincf ? " 
he said, presently. 

" Everything, sir." 

" Take care that it is, or look out for 
yourself." 

" Yes, sir." 

Eedwood was in a brutal humour, but his 
valet was not to be ruHed. Simpson was 
quite comfortable ; he had a substantial sum 
in the bank. The service he had taken with 
Louis Eedwood had proved a lucrative one ; 
the wages were good, the perquisites better, 
the pilferings Ijest, He would not have wept 
if he were suddenly discharged, though he 
would have preferred to hold on a little 
longer. He had, of course, backed " Abraca- 
dabra " for the Derljy ; he had the firmest 
faith in his master's horse, and thought, with 
numbers of others, that it could not lose the 
race. He stood to win five hundred pounds, 



MR. BALDANE IlETURNS. 95 

and looked upon the money as already in his 
pocket. 

" What did you sav about a jrentlenian 
calli'na: ? " asked Eedwood, when he had 
smaked his ciirar throuiih. 

" He wanted to see \o\\ very particularly, 
sir. 

" An3^one I know ? " 

" Oh, yes, sir ; an old friend of yours." 
He added, under his bated breath, " and of 
mine." 

"An old friend," said Eedwood. "Where's 
his card ? " 

" He didn't leave one, sir. He left his 
name." 

" What is it ? " 

" Mr. Haldane, sir." 

Redwood stopped in his walk. " He is in 
Eno-land, then. When did he come back ? " 

" I don't know, sir. I didn't ask him. He 
said he wanted to see you very particularly, 
and asked me if vou would be home to- 
nif?ht" 

" Yes, go on," said Eedwood impatiently. 



9G THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Don't cliop it up into bits. Out with tlie 
lot." 

" I said, sir, you might and you mightn't, 
and then he said he would call again, and 
take his chance of finding you. There's the 
bell, sir. It might be him." 

Eedwood reflected a moment. " If it is Mr. 
Haldane, show him in." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And look here, Simpson. When he's 
here you can pack yourself off. I shan't 
want you again to night. If I catch you 
peeping through keyholes and listening, I'll 
break your neck." 

" Yes, sir," said Simpson, and going from 
the room, presently returned, ushering in Mr. 
Haldane. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

SIMPSON AND ITTS TIPS. 

" Make yourself scarce," said Louis lledwood 
to Simpson, who, with a look of curiosity 
at his old master and a subservient lowering 
of eyes at his new, glided from the room. 
" So you've come back to the old diggings, 
Haldane. IIow long have you been here ? " 

" I arrived this morning," replied ]\Ir. 
Haldane. 

" Made your fortune, I hope." 

" Hardly that, Eedwood, as you can see." 

There were indeed no evidences of pros- 
perity upon him ; his insolent and haughty 
bearing had vanished, and its place was taken 
by a certain humbleness of manner, in which, 
however, a timid rebelliousness occasionally 
asserted itself. That he had been on the 
downward course was clear enough, but there 
were still lower depths to reach, of which 
VOL. III. 37 



98 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

possibilit}^ lie appeared to be nervously 
conscious. 

" You don't look flourishing, I must say," 
observed Eedwood. " Have a ciixar ? There's 
a bottle of champagne just opened. Help 
3'ourself," 

Mr. Haldane did so with some show of 
eagerness, which was not lost upon Redwood. 

" Where have you been all this time ? " 
inquired the younger man. 

" All over the world, I think," replied 
Mr. Haldane, " and bad luck everywhere." 

" You had a i^ood inning's," said Louis 
Redwood, with a spice of maliciousness in his 
tone. " Life is a game of ups and downs." 

" You've been luckier than I have been, at 
all events, and there's no chance of a reverse." 

" I'm not sure, Haldane. So far as money 
goes at present, I don't dispute with you ; 
but my turn may come next." 

" You don't say that ? " 

" I do say it. Do you remember Lamb and 
Freshwater ? " 

" Your lawyers ? Yes ; I have cause to 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. 99 

remember them. According to what you 
said, tliey insisted upon selling me up/' 

" It was in their hands, you know," said 
Redwood carelessly, " and I had to follow 
their advice." 

" You were rich enough to give me another 
lease of life," said Mr. Ilaldane, moodily 
chewing his cigar. " You told me yourself 
that you were not in want of money." 

" I might have said something of the kind, 
but a bargain is a bargain. You didn't fulfd 
your part of it, and I didn't choose to be 
treated like a doc;." 

" What could I do ? If my precious 
daughter would not marry you, how could I 
force her ? " 

" You managed badly from the first. You 
had the game in your hands, and you threw 
it away. But the devil take the past ! We 
were both well rid of each other. I should 
have been tired of her in a month, and she 
would have made me sick with her whines and 
tears. It made me mad to be thwarted, I 
own ; it alwaj's does. The harder a^thing is 

37* 



100 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

to get, the more I want it. It's my nature, 
and I can't help it. You can't accuse me 
of lack of perseverance. I might even have 
continued with your obstinate daughter if 
another woman hadn't happened to step in 
my way." His face darkened. " I'm about 
as successful with the second as with the first ; 
and I'll know the reason why, if I'm ruined in 
the end." 

" Who is hvincT at the Hall ? " asked Mr. 
Haldane. 

" The rooks. It has been empty ever 
since the foreclosure, and Lamb & Fresh- 
water are continually telling me it is eating 
its head off. You've cost me a tidy sum one 
way and another. I'm not exactly the Bank 
of England, Haldane ; that is what my 
lawyer friends are continually dinning into 
me lately. ' You're making the pace too hot,' 
they say, and when I tell them to mind their 
own business they shake their heads, and 
speak about pulling up and retrenching. A 
pair of black ravens, that's what they are ; 
but I shouldn't wonder if I had to sell Chud- 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. lOI 

leigh, after all. I should liave sold it long 
ago if I could have got my price. I shall be 
lucky if I see half my money back, the legal 
croakers say : and what with capital lying 
idle^ and the loss of interest, I've no doubt 
they're right. Chudleigh's gone to the dogs 
since we left it. No trade, no life, no money." 

" Eedwood ! " 

" Well ? " 

" We were friends once, good friends." 

" Who's disputing it ? " 

"I'm down in the world. It is not my 
fault, but my misfortune, that luck's gone 
against me. For old times' sake don't turn 
your back upon me. I'm cleaned out." 

" How much will set you up ? " 

" You're a good fellow, Louis. Could 3'ou 
let me have a couple of hundred ? " 

" It wouldn't ruin me. Look here, Haldane, 
I don't set myself up as a model, and I've a 
notion that I'm not exactly a favourite with 
the people I mix with. Hang the lot of 
them ! What do I care for their opinion of 
me ? They'll lick my boots so long as I fling 



102 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

my money about ; when I'm broke they won't 
be able to speak bad enough of me. I know 
them, the curs ! But there's one thing they 
will never be able to say, and that is that I 
cared for money. There's my cheque book ; 
fill in a cheque for two hundred, and I'll sign 
it." 

The light in Mr. Ilaldane's eyes as he wrote 
the cheque was like the light in the eyes of a 
condemned man who has been suddenly re- 
prieved. He handed the pen to Eedwood, 
who scribbled his name and threw the cheque 
across to the once prosperous gentleman. 

" If you think of anvthino- I can do for 
this, Eedwood," he said and paused. 

There was ijenuine emotion in his voice, 
and his hand shook as he passed it across his 
eyes. 

" I'm not at all sure," said Eedwood, " that 
I shan't call upon you to do something for 
me. You're going to Epsom to-morrow, of 
course ? " 

" I thought of going, and putting a fiver on 
your horse. You've backed it yourself?" 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. 103 

"To win a pretty large stake. What's 
more, I've laid against another horse in the 
race .that people fancy." 

" I heard Morning Glory talked of." 

" That is the horse I've laid against. You 
can go down on my drag if you like." 

" I should be glad to." 

" Come to breakfast here at nine. You'll 
lind yourself in good company when we start. 
An old friend of vours is cjoing with us." 

"Who is he?" 

" It is a lady, hailing originally from Chud- 
leigli." 

" Not my " 

" Dauizhter ? 0, no : this is another kind 
of lady. Do you remember Ilonoria ? " 

" Honor ia ? " 

" A girl from your village, a protegee of 
your daughter once on a time. 

"I remember something of the girl." 

"Did you ever hear my name mixed up 
with hers ? " 

" Never." 

" It was kept pretty close. When we first 



104 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

became acquainted she knew me under 
another name than my own. Not an un- 
common trick, Haldane. You've been on the 
same lay yourself. She has blossomed into a 
woman of fashion — but you must have heard 
all about it." 

"You forget. I have been absent from 
England for some time." 

" That accounts for your ignorance ; but 
you'll hear enough to-morrow. I'll ask you 
now to say good-night. Take another cigar 
before you go." 

The old friends parted, and Mr. Haldane 
went away a happier man than he came. 

Louis Eedwood did not go to bed imme- 
diately. He took out his betting book and 
pencilled down how he stood on the eventful 
race that would be decided in a few hours. 
Eich as he was reputed to be the result of 
this race was of some importance to him. If 
Honoria's tip came off. Morning Glory first, 
and Abracadabra second, it would make a 
difference of a hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds to him. He looked rather grave as he 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. 105 

contemplated the figures, ])iit liis confidence 
was not shaken. With a smile of anticipated 
triumph he retired to rest. 

Meanwhile Mr. Haidane was undergoing an 
expedience. Upon issuing into the street he 
was accosted by Simpson, who, instead of 
listening at keyholes, had taken it into his 
head to wait for his old master at the street 
door. 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Haidane," he 
said, " but I thou2fht you miiilit feel inclined 
fer a bit of a chat about old times as well as 
new." 

To be addressed in such terms of familiarity 
by a man who had once been his servant was 
a bitter pill for Mr. Haidane to swallow, but 
he was accustomed to humiliation, and being 
in adversity a coward, he made no remon- 
strance. 

" How has the world treated you, Simpson ?" 

" I can't complain," replied Simpson. " I 
wish it had treated you as well." 

It was a feature in his offensive familiarity 
that he was careful not to address his old 



lOG THE MARCH OF FATE. 

master as "sir." It was all very well in 
former days, but now the tables were turned, 
and it was principally to enjoy a practical 
illustration of the fact that he sought the 
interview. 

" I am glad to hear you have prospered," 
said Mr. Haldane, humbly. 

" Yes, I could set up as my own master 
now. Mr. Eedwood spoke to me sharp before 
you, but that's his way ; he hasn't much 
respect for anybod}'. I'm thinking of giving 
him notice." 

" So well off as all that, Simpson ? " said 
Mr. Haldane. 

" I can lay my hand on three noughts, with 
a three before them," said Simpson, boast- 
full}^, "and then I shouldn't be broke." 

" Three thousand pounds ! You're a lucky 
man. How did you make it ? " 

" Honestly, and by keeping my wits about 
me. Mr. Eedwood's horses have been a little 
gold mine to me." 

" And to him." 

"Don't be too sure of that. Taking one 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. 107 

« 

year with another his stable don't cost him 
less than five hundred a week. Tie's head- 
strong, that's wliat he is. Thinks he's up to 
every move on the board, thinks he's a match 
for jockeys and trainers, thinks he's a match 
for women, while, if the truth was known, 
he's made to pay all round by the whole lot 
of them, lie's got a certainty to-morrow 
though. The Derby's as good as won. Put 
a bit on Abracadabra, Mr. Haldane." 

" Thank you, Simpson." 

" It's a pity about Chudleigh, isn't it, Mr. 
Haldane ? " 

'• Mr. Eedwood tells me it is in a bad way." 

" Gone to the dog?. Youd hardly know 
the old phice." 

" They'd be o-lad to have me back afjain, 
Simpson." 

" They'd he glad to have anybody back 
again. Have you seen your daughter ? " 

"No." 

" She lives in lodgings. No. 5, Pole Street, 
Buckingham Palace Eoad. It is a come- 
down, isn't it, for all of you ? Well, I must 



108 THE MARCH Oh' FATE. 

wish you ta-ta ; I've got to be up early in the 
mornincf. I thou^jht it wouldn't look friendly 
to let you go without having a word with you." 

He held out his hand, which Mr. Haldane 
pretended not to see. 

" Good-night, Simpson," he said, and walked 
away. 

" Proud beast ! " muttered Simpson, looking 
after him. " Wouldn't shake hands with me, 
wouldn't he ? But I showed him I was as 
good as he was. I'm glad he's come down." 

He went up to his room, and before he 
sought his bed devoted quite an hour to 
seeking inspirations for the Derby. He wrote 
on separate pieces of paper the names of all 
the horses that were being backed for the race, 
and shaking them up in a hat, drew one forth. 
Opening the paper he had drawn he read the 
name on it, "Morning Glory." He smiled, 
folded the paper, and put it back in the hat, 
and then began shaking all the pieces out of 
it till only one remained. Opening it, he 
read again, " Morning Glory." His second 
smile was not quite so confident as his first. 



SIMPSON AND HLS TIPS. 109 

but his fiiitli in Abracadabra still remained 
firm. He took up a Ijook from the table, 
and opened it hap-hazard. The first letter on 
the top of the page was M for Morning. lie 
opened another page hap-hazard, and tlie 
first letter was G for Gloiy. He was mani- 
festly disturbed by these occult prognostica- 
tions, and he began to question whether 
Abracadabra was really the certainty for the 
Derby it was pronounced to be. Ever}' de- 
scription of sporting paper was in the room ; 
he consulted them all. Without a single 
exception every sporting prophet gave Abra- 
cadabra as the winner. He became re- 
assured ; it was not possible they could all be 
mistaken. As a two-year-old Abracadabra 
had won three races, and this year had been 
favourite for the Two Thousand, which he 
won, as he had his other races, with the 
greatest ease. In his preparation for the 
Derby there had not been a hitch, not a 
mishap, not one day's sickness, and it was a 
well-known fact that the whole stable to a 
man was on the favourite. Simpson smiled 



110 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

again willi returned confidence, and examined 
his betting book. Yes, he stood to win iive 
hundred pounds, or kjse two hundred, on 
Abracadabra. During his service with Louis 
Eedwood he had become quite a man of the 
town, and as he often declared, was up to 
every move on the board ; therefore he kept 
his bets duly recorded in a regular betting 
book, after the fashion of his superiors. He 
was not high enough in social station to be a 
member of Tattersall's or even of the Vic- 
toria ; but he belonged to the Beaufort, and, 
as an ambitious man, looked forward to ad- 
vancement. He w^as intimate with many of 
the racing fraternity, and knew that every 
one of them who had made money had risen 
from nothing. There were some who could 
hardly write their names in their cheque 
books, but they had amazing heads for 
figures, and as for their histories before they 
were in a position to drive blood horses and 
wear huge diamond rings and pins, the least 
said about them the better. The men upon 
whose downfall thev had fattened were mem- 



SIMPSON AND HIS TIPS. HI 

bers of old families with old estates which 
had passed from them, and of new families 
Created by prosperous tradesmen and specu- 
lators whose lives had been devoted to the 
makincf of fortunes wliicli their children were 
squandering. Simpson had made the ac- 
quaintance of numbers of these rooks and 
pigeons, and by dint of natural shrewdness 
and cunning had managed to pick up a good 
many stray crumbs which had swelled his 
banking account to its present respectable 
figure. But why should he stop at three 
thousand pounds ? Here in his master's horse 
was his opportunity ; it was the chance of a 
lifetime, and might never occur again. Why 
should he not turn bookmaker, and, as well 
as backing Abracadabra, lay against all the 
other horses in the race ? He had often 
thousfht of turning bookmaker on his own 
account, and this Derby, which was " all 
over but the shouting," would be a capital 
commencement. With fair luck his three 
thousand would be thirty before the racing 
season was over. Debating this question with 



112 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

doubts and fears, now being urged on by the 
one, now being pulled back by the other, he 
once more tossed all the pieces of paper 
together, and drew one out. The last time 
he did so was with his right hand and his 
eyes open. This time he closed his eyes and 
drew with his left hand. Again, " Morning 
Glory ! " What did it mean ? Was it Fate 
that was whispering to him not to turn book- 
maker yet, but to desert Abracadabra, and 
take the odds to a larofe amount a<:^ainst 
Morning Glory ? He would try again — 
hanofed if he wouldn't. He smoothed one of 
the sporting papers in which all the probable 
starters for the Derby and their jockeys were 
set down. Then he took a pin, and with 
averted eyes stuck it in the list. With 
feverish eagerness he looked at the paper ; 
the pin was sticking in " Morning Glory." 
He stood for a long time glaring at it ; then 
he tumbled into bed very much disturbed in 
his mind. The chances of Abracadabra 
winning the great race were not half so good 
as they had been an hour ago. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

HONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 

This Derby day was not dilTerent from all 
other Derby days. There were the same 
tumult and liurly - burly : the same vast 
gathering of people of all degrees and con- 
ditions in life, peers, statesmen, costermon- 
gers, layers and backers of horses, acrobats, 
tipsters, ladies, courtezans, gipsies, and general 
hangers-on ; the same contrasts of wealth and 
poverty, of hope and despair, of false hilarity 
and blank misery. Nature alone made 
genuine holiday ; the sun shone brightly, and 
touched the surroundino; hills and ijay dresses 
of the ladies with shiftincf liorht. In its 
colour, animation, variety, and sicrnificance, 
the scene at Epsom on a Derby day is 
incomparable. 

Of all the motley gathering not one 
VOL in. 38 



114 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

attracted more attention than Ilonoria. The 
admiration was bestowed in some quarters 
openly, in others covertly and envyingly. 
Men pointed her out to each other, and ladies 
levelled their opera glasses at her. She was 
conscious of this general attention, but did 
not show it. The absence of small vanity in 
this beautiful creature was as remarkable as 
her possession of absolutely high qualities 
which, if scandal had not been busv with her 
name, would have entitled her to the homage 
which, openly by some and grudgingly by 
others, was paid to her. She had driven 
down to Epsom with Louis Redwood's party, 
and she wore the mixed colours of Abra- 
cadabra and Morning Glor3^ Eedwood 
would have protested against this divided 
allegiance if he dared, but the power she 
wielded over him was due as much to her 
courage and independence as to her beauty, 
and he knew it was wiser to be silent on 
certain matters upon which they differed. 
When she was not occupied in the paddock 
and with persons who were executing com- 



HONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 115 

missions for her, she held court in her Ijox, 
bestowing her smiles and favour upon those 
who . thronged around her, in a queenly 
fashion which strengthened her hold upon 
them. Mr. Ilaldane had been introduced to 
her, and from the moment he saw her his 
eyes seldom wandered from her when they 
were near each other. She had aw^^kened 
within him a memor}- of the past. The 
queenly woman reminded him strangely of a 
woman whom he had betrayed and deserted. 
Memories also were awakened within Honoria 
upon Eed wood's mention of his name. Since 
the night upon which she had travelled from 
Chudleigh to London hi the company of Mr. 
Millington she had not seen or heard from 
Miss Haldane. She had, as we know, written 
a letter to her benefactor, to the ladv who 
had saved her probably from death, certainly 
from despair, warning her of the character of 
the man who was wooing her ; that done, 
all was at an end between them. She had 
thought often of the lady who had played the 
part of an angel in her life of poverty and 

38* 



116 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

early .sliame, but when she became notorious 
she did not deem herself worthy to approach 
her in any way. On one side were virtue and 
purity, on the other, vice and degradation ; 
she acknowledged the position, and cut her- 
self aloof from one with whom she was not fit 
to associate. She gazed with curiosity upon 
Mr. Haldane when he was introduced to her, 
and noted wonderingly his strange ob- 
servance of her, in which there was a touch 
of subserviency. In Chudleigh village he had 
never bestowed the least attention upon her, 
and she did not remember that he had ever 
addressed her. On the road a somewhat 
significant conversation had taken place be- 
tween them. 

" You have been absent from England for 
some time," she said. 

" Yes," he replied, " for some time." 
" Since your return," she continued, " have 
you been down to Chudleigh ? " 
" No ; I only returned yesterday." 
" I am wondering whether it is much 
altered." 



IIONOKIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 117 

" Mr. Eedwood tells me that a ^rreat cliaufre 
has come over the place." 

" That would ]je the case, of course, the 
Hall being empty. It is sad to lose so fine a 
place." 

" I have felt it^deeply." 

" Mr. Ilaldane, have you no remembrance 
of me ? " She noticed again the strange look 
in his eyes. 

" You remind me of someone," he said, 
with hesitancy. 

" Of myself," she said, smiling. 

" No ; not of 3'ourself. May I ask how old 
you are ? " 

" Some ladies would be angry with you. I 
am twenty-three. You ought to remember 
me, Mr. Haldane. I am almost a Chudleicfh 
girl. Your daughter was very kind to me." 

He winced at the reference to his daughter. 

" I hope she is well." 

" I do not know ; I have not seen her 
lately." 

" Are you not friendly with her ? " 

" She disobeyed me." 



118 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Ilonoria was but imperfectly acquainted 
with the details of the relations between him 
and Louis Redwood, but her natural in- 
telligence enabled her to arrive immediately 
at a correct conclusion. 

" You wished her to marry," she said. 

"It is a subject," he said, "I would rather 
avoid." 

'* I am very self-willed, Mr. Haldane. You 
wished her to marry Mr. Redwood ? " 

" It would have been the saving of me, and 
the making of her." 

" What are you two talking about so 
softly and mysteriously ? " cried Redwood, 
turning towards them 

" Family matters," said Honoria dryly. 
"Do not interrupt us." 

"Be careful of her, Haldane," said Red- 
wood. " She is a witch." 

" I will make a confession to you," she 
said, addressing herself again to Mr. Haldane, 
" though it is hardly that, for I never disguise 
from myself or from others, what I am. You 
know the world's opinion of me." 



HONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. ll'J 

" Oh, the world ! " he exclaimed, with an 
awkward iiioveineiit of his hands expressing' 
at once that the world's opinion was not 
worth considering, and that he would rather 
not be pressed to give his own. 

" Yes, the world," she said ; " but it is 
curious, now, that it is only half right. What 
do vou think A'ourself of the intimacy between 
me and Mr. liedwood ? You hesitate to 
answer, but your very hesitation is in itself 
the answer : and vet ^ou are about as ri"lit as 
the world is. Upon the virtues of Mr. Eed- 
wood you, who have known him so long and 
so well, must have a verv exact estimate. 
Answer me candidly. Would he have been a 
lit husband for your daughter P " 

" I cannot discuss the question," he said. 
He was beL>innini( to be afraid of this out- 
spoken creature. 

" It is not a subject for discussion," she 
said, " because there can be but one opinion. 
Mr. Eedwood would have ruined her happi- 
ness and her life, and it is well for her that 
she did not give him the chance. Why, if he 



120 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

offered to marry me I would laugh in his 
face." 

"Still plotting?" said Eedwood. 

" Eunning you down, Eedwood," said 
Honoria, " Taking your character away. I 
am tearing you to pieces ; Mr. Haldane is 
defending you. Which side will you bet 
on i 

" Yours ; and Haldane, if he is wise, will 
agree in everything you say." 

" I am trying to bring him round. So," to 
Mr. Haldane, " you see you were wrong." 

" Eight or wrong," he said, moodily, " it 
is all over now. You have asked me a good 
many questions ; I should like to ask you 
one." She nodded assent. " You say 3'ou are 
almost a Chudleigh girl. Do your people live 
there ? " 

" My people ! What do you mean by that? " 

" Your parents, your relations ? " 

"I have neither parents nor relations. 
Would you believe, Mr. Haldane, that you 
are talking to a human being who has not a 
single tie in the whole wide world ? " 



HONORIA THKOWS OUT A CIIALLKXGE. 121 

"T believe whatever you say." 

" That i.s pohte of you. It is a fact. To 
mv knowledij^e, there is not a man, woman, 
or child witli whom I can claim kindred. I 
must bring something to your mind. In the 
viHage of Bittern, seven or eight miles from 
Chudleiirh, there lived a woman with a. little 
child. I am not telling 30U a fairy story, 
and I shall not treat you to a mystery. The 
child was myself. I can just remember the 
woman, of whom I know nothing more than 
that she was not my mother. IIow it came 
about that at the age of six or seven I found 
myself quite alone in the world I cannot say, 
but it is true. In the first place, I was 
deserted by my parents, whoever they may 
be ; in the second place, I was deserted by 
the woman who, for some reason or other, 
had looked after me for a time. Imauine, if 
you please, a young child thrown b\' human 
cruelty into such a position. There is a kind 
of brutalitv in it, is there not? How I 
managed to live is really inexplicable. Then 
came a day I remember well. I was sitting 



122 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

by a liediTe on tlie roadside, sliiverini:^ and 
hungry and in rags, when a carriage came 
aloncT. In the carriao-e was a little ^rl about 

~ ~ a 

as old as m^'self, who Avas takinsf a ride with 
her nurse. This little girl insists upon 
getting out of the carriage, and she speaks to 
me, and actually "'ives me some sweets ; and 
insists, too, upon taking me back with her to 
Chudleigh. There are some memories that 
never fade, and this is one. My benefactor, 
Mr. Haldane, was your daughter." 

" I have a recollection of the circum- 
stance," he said. He would have preferred 
to be silent, the last of his wishes being to 
encouracfe a conversation into which his 
daughter was introduced, but Ilonoria had 
paused and looked at him, expecting him to 
speak. 

" Her kindness," continued Honoria, " did 
not end there. She took the charofe of me 
upon herself, and paid a woman in Chudleigh 
for my keep. She was the means, also, of 
my receiving a better education than was 
bestowed upon the regular village children. 



HOKORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 123 

and so, Mr. Ilaldane, I grew into qnite a 
superior young woman. How I grew into 
what 'I am is my affair, and proves my in- 
gratitude to your daughter. I owe her a 
debt I can never repay, and with all my heart 
and soul I thank God that you did not 
succeed in forcin<:>' her into a marriaije with 
Mr. Eedwood. It comes into my mind, Mr. 
Haldane, that I am indebted to you." 

" In what way ? " he asked. 

" Your daughter must have thrown away 
a good deal of money upon me, which, of 
course, you must have oiven her." 

" She had her allowance," said Mr. Hal- 
dane, " and could do what she liked with it." 

" Am I right in supposing that you are in 
rather low water j ust now ? " 

"I have had a run of bad luck," he said. 
There was no refinement or delicacy in his 
nature ; he was ready to accept anything 
from her. 

" Consider me in your debt to the tune of 
 — how much shall we say? Five hundred 
pounds ? " 



124 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" You are too good," he said, with a 
beatino- heart. 

" Not at all. Indirectly I am your debtor, 
and I can spare a good deal more than that. 
I will not give you the money now, because 
it might be noticed. On the course, when 
nobody is looking. I have brought a large 
sum with me, to do some ready money 
betting with. Then, so far as you are con- 
cerned, we are quits. There — we will talk 
no more about it. Only take my tip. Back 
Morning Glory." 

"Eeally?" 

"Eeally. lam in luck just now. Every- 
thincf I touch turns to ^old." 

It seemed so. On the first race, the 
Chetwynd Plate, she netted a thousand 
pounds, and Mr. Haldane and Major Causton, 
taking her tip, each won a fair stake. Eed- 
wocd lost as much as Honoria won. It 
needed only that Honoria should say that 
Prince of Tyre would wm to cause him to 
back the two second favourites, Eed Cherry 
and Saint. He would prove to her that she 



HONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 125 

was no match for him in such matters ; he 
would show that he was her master, and that 
she was playin<,^ a game in which she was a 
novice. Therefore he made a plunge on his 
fancies, and backed his two horses against 
her one at even money for a monkey. 

" Blind luck ! " he muttered, as Prince of 
Tyre came in first by two lengths. " But 
she shall suffer for it on the Derby." 

Honoria smiled calmly on him when the 
winning number went up. 

" You don't believe in luck, Redwood," she 
said. 

" Luck be hanged I ' he cried. " Wait for 
the Derbv," 

The Derbv was the next race, and the 
course and everybody on it, with the excep- 
tion of Ilonoria, was in a state of the greatest 
excitement. The vellini'' and shrieking', the 
shouting of odds, the rushing to and fro, the 
white faces, the mad throbbing of hopes and 
fears, converted the lovely spot into a 
pandemonium. The party in whom we are 
most interested went into the paddock to see 



126 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

the liorses saddled. They were all in the 
pmk of condition, lit to run for a man's life, 
and seemed to be aware that they were about 
to eno-ao-e in the most important contest of 
the year. Before Abracadabra's jockey, the 
celebrated Beane, was weighed in, Eedwood 
drew him aside. No one intruded upon them, 
but curious eyes watched them and souijht to 
glean information from signs. 

" What do YOU think, Beane ? " asked 
Eedwood. 

" What everybody thinks, sir," replied the 
jockey. " I don't believe the horse can lose." 
He looked at his employer in expectancy ; 
Eedwood chewed his moustache. 

" You are on," he said, " two thousand to 
nothing." 

Beane elevated his forelinofer, and a satisfied 
expression appeared on his face. 

" It's a certainty, sir ; you can back 
Abracadabra for all you're worth." 

There was another little confidential and 
anxious conversation between Eedwood and 
the trainer, the result of which was perfectly 



HONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 137 

satisfactory to the owner. He beckoned one 
of the commissioners in his employ, and in 
less than five minutes it was known that he 
had thrown another heavy commission in the 
market, and had ba(;ked Abracadabra to win 
a further fifty thousand pounds. The effect 
of this was to considerably shorten the -odds. 
" I'll take five to four," shrieked tlie book- 
makers. "Fives, bar one." Before you 
could turn round the betting on Abracadabra 
was six to four on, and the odds against 
Morninrj Glorv had leiifrthened to six to one. 
Some of the leading bookmakers refused to 
take the odds on the favourite, and the con- 
sequence was that Abracadabra's admirers in 
many instances had to lay seven to four and 
two to one. Honoria called Major Causton to 
her side. 

" Get the longest odds you can," she said, 
" ao;ainst Morninsf Glorv for a thousand. 
Come back to me immediately." 

Eedwood, hearing this, exclaimed, " Are 
you mad ? " 

" Wait a moment, Eedwood," she replied, 



128 THE MARCH OF FATE, 

smiling at him, and she turned aside with Mr. 
Haldane. " What do you want to say ? " 

" They tell me it's throwing money away to 
back anything but the favourite." 

" Do as you please with your money," said 
Ilonoria ; she had given him iive hundred 
pounds, and the money he had won on the 
Chetwynd Plate burned in his pocket. He 
had to bet with ready money bookmakers ; it 
was known he had come down in the world. 
" What difference can it make to me whether 
you win or lose ? " 

" If you are fool enough to back Morning 
Glory," said Eedwood, intercepting him as 
he left Honoria, " you deserve to lose every 
penny you have got. She has been telling you 
to back the horse, hasn't she ? Out with it ! " 

" Yes, she told me to back it." 

" What the devil does she know about 
horses?" cried Eedwood. "Look here, 
Haldane. Have women ever brought you 
any luck ? " 

"They have been my destruction," mut- 
tered Mr. Haldane. 



IIONORIA THROWS OUT A CHALLENGE. 129 

"Well, then. Follow Honoria, and find 
yourself in the gutter. Don't come to me to 
help ypu out of it." 

Mr. Haldane walked away in an agony of 
doubt ', he did not know what to do. 

" Now, Redwood," said Honoria, " you 
want to know if I am mad. Upon my word, 
I half believe I am ; I've trot Morninf 
Glory on the brain. It's on the cards that 
my fancy will beggar me." 

" With all my heart," he said, " I hope it 
will." And thought, " If I could bring that 
about she would be at my mercy. It is only 
because she is independent of me that she is 
torturing me so. If I could beggar her ! If 
I could beggar her ! " 

" You are thinking of something wicked," 
she said, tapping her foot with her sunshade. 
" Am I lookiuiT well to-dav ? " 

" You are a beautiful devil," he rephed, 
"and I would give all I'm worth to tame 
you." 

" I dare say you would," she said, with a 
saucy smile. " We are having a rare fio-ht, 
VOL. in. 39 



130 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

you and I. The question is, who will be 
victor in the end ? " 

" You'll be eating humble pie, my lady, 
before the day is over." 

" That's to be seen. You ought to know 
by this time how obstinate a woman can be. 
I have a notion, Kedwood, that I can read 
3^our thoughts. Shall I tr}^ ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, you are thinking that it would 
better your chances if you could ruin me." 

" You are a witch." 

" I offer you the opportunity. I throw 
down my glove. If you are anything of a 
man you will pick it up. I dare you ! " 

She flashed a look into his eyes that almost 
electrified him. 

" I pick up your glove," he said. " What 
is the challenge ? " 



CHAFIEil XXXVII. 

THE RACK. 

lIoNORiA looked around. Altliouiili there 
were numbers of people in the paddock they 
were all so enfjrossed in their own selfish 
affairs that they had no time to notice that 
she and Louis Eedwood were enf^aiii'ed in an 
unusually animated conversation. A certain 
measure of privacy was therefore secured, 
but it did not content Ilonoria. She made a 
slight motion of her head, and Redwood 
followed her as a lamb follows it dam. She 
conducted him to a remote corner, where 
there was no chance of their being hustled or 
overheard. 

" Redwood,'' she said, " do you know I 
have a great deal of money ? " 

" You ought to have," he replied. " You 
have been a regularly lucky woman this last 
year. You never back a loser. Boats, dogs, 

39* 



132 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

or horses, it's all one to you ; whatever you 
put your money on, wins. Your luck has 
iDeen dead in ; but mark my words, Honoria, 
the Derby turns it. I wish you had every 
penny you're worth on Morning Glory." 

" I am game to risk it," she said. " That 
is my challenge. Morning Glory against 
Abracadabra for every shilling I possess." 

" You've got a nerve," he said admiringly ; 
" but it's two to one on Abracadabra, and 
five or six to one against Morning Glory. 
If you lost thirty thousand could you stump 
up ? " 

"I could." 

" And you want me to lay you the odds 
against Morning Glory. Well, to be honest 
with you, Honoria, if b}^ some infernal chance 
you should win I shouldn't be able to raise 
money enough to settle with you. As for 
gettino; such a sum on in the rinoj at this time 
of the day it would be an impossibility." 

"I don't want money, Eedwood," said 
Honoria, with a bewitching smile, "I want 
landed property." 



THE RACE, 133 

" Landed property ? " 

" Landed property," she repeated. 
" Women take odd notions into their heads ; 
I've taken one into mine. What has the 
Chudleigh estate cost you ? " 

" Cost me ! " he cried with an oath. " I'd 
rather not mention the sum. It makes me 
wild to think of it." 

"I challencje you," said she, tauntingly, 
" to lay me the deeds of the Chudleigh estate 
against thirty thousand pounds of my money 
that Morning Glory does not win the Derby." 

lie stared at her in blank amazement. 
" Are 3'ou mad ? " he exclaimed. 

" I think I am. You haven't the pluck ! 
Good-bye, then." She turned, as though 
throwino- him over for ever. 

" Not so fast, my lady," he said, with white 
lips. " No one has ever seen me show 
the white feather yet where money is con- 
cerned. I was thinking more of you than of 
myself." 

" I've no objection to your thinking of 
me," she said, firing him with another look 



134 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

and a charming smile. " I do believe you 
mean it when you say you love me." 

" You may believe it. I would sell my soul 
for you." 

" It hasn't a market value, Eedwood ; 
Chudleigh has ; and mad as I am on this 
fancy of mine, I'm a business woman. Do 
you really and truly love me, Louis ? " 

He thrilled with pleasure as she addressed 
him by his Christian name. " Haven't I done 
enough to prove it, Honoria ? " 

" Not quite enough," she replied. 

" By ! " he swore another oath to 

emphasise his words. " Here have I been 
hanging about you ever since you have been 
in London, adoring you, worshipping you, 
gratifying every wish, drawing cheques, buy- 
ing diamonds —Oh, I'm not throwing it in 
your teeth, my lady ; I'm only going through 
the catalogue — waiting on you hand and foot, 
making myself a perfect slave, and all I've 
got for it is a kiss of your hand " 

" When you wanted my lips," she inter- 
rupted saucily. 



THE RACE. 135 

She had never looked more lovely ; she 
knew her power, and was exercising it. 

" I. want you ! "' he cried, hoarse with 
passion. 

"Who knows what may happen," she 
asked saucily, " when I really need a friend 
like you — when I am ruined ? As I shall be 
if you accept my challenge, and your horse 
wins the Derby. You could make your own 
terms. Do you dare ? " 

" Do I dare ? " he retorted scornfully. 
" The challenge is made." 

"Let us enter it," she said, and she made 
an entry in her dainty betting book, he doing 
the same in his. " Is this right, Louis ? " 
She held out her book to him. 

" Quite right," he replied. 

"You may as well initial it," she said, 
" and I will initial yours." 

The interchange was made, and then they 
shook hands, both smiling into each other's 
eyes, confident of victory. 

The paddock was emptying now ; all the 
jockeys had passed the scales, and some 



136 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

were already mounted and makinof their way 
to the course ; the others were mountincf and 
accompanied by anxious trainers, owners, and 
backers, were following the leaders ; the book- 
makers' touts, having nothing more to pick 
up in that arena, were in the ring. Honoria 
and Eedwood walked slowly to their box, 
both apparently cool and unconcerned ; they 
had made the great stake, of which no one 
was at present aware but themselves, and it 
was one of Eedwood's boasts that he could 
lose and win a hundred thousand pounds 
without turning a hair. Nevertheless, although 
he was completely successful in concealing his 
feelings, he was inwardly much agitated. So 
much depended upon the next half-hour ! His 
life's triumph or defeat seemed to hang upon 
the issue. 

"By Jove, you two! " cried Major Causton. 
" One would think you hadn't a penny on the 
race. Let me congratulate you beforehand, 
Eedwood. There's no getting a bookmaker 
to take another fiver against Abracadabra. 
There he goes. What a beaut}^ ! " 



THE RACE. 137 

Tlie horses were cantering to the starting- 
post, and every eye was noting Abracadabra, 
and o-very voice was raised in admiration. A 
trainer whispered a word to Eodwood. 

" DecUned," he said aloud. 

" Sixteen thousand," said the trainer. 

" Thanks," drawled Eedwood, taking out a 
cigar. " Xot for double the money." 

" What is it, Eedwood ? " inquired 
Honoria. 

"An offer of sixteen thousand for Abra- 
cadabra," replied Eedwood, " if he wins." 

" He will be worth nearly as much," 
said Honoria, " if he comes in second by a 
head." 

" Why of course," Major Causton put in, 
" in that case the horse is yours. Eh, 
Eedwood ? " 

" That's so," said Eedwood. " I hope my 
head won't ache till then." 

Two or three asked the meaning of this, 
and Eedwood himself explained it. When it 
became known that Honoria had such faith 
in Morning Glorv some anxious souls rushed 



138 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

ofl to back it. These were men wlio believed 
ill following the luck, and who were aware 
that Honoria had been having a wonderful 
run of late. 

*' They'll not thank you presently," said 
Eedwood, looking after them savagely. 

" Redwood and I are having a battle 
roj'al," remarked Honoria to Major Causton. 
" He swears by Abracadabra, I by Morning 
Glor}'. We have just made a heavy bet on 
our fancies." 

" That's no one's affair but our own," said 
Eedwood, in surprise. 

" I don't know about that," rejoined 
Honoria, looking through her glasses at the 
horses going to the post. " Such a bet as 
we have just made is sure to leak out. 
There's no keeping a thing secret in these 
days, is there, Major? " 

" It's difficult," said Causton, " if not im- 
possible, with all these gadflies buzzing 
around. So you've turned bookmaker, 
Eedwood." 

" It is a whim of hers," replied Eedwood. 



THE RACE. 139 

" She threw out a challenge, and I accepted 
It. 

"II:' I lose," said Ilonoria, " I [shall be 
ruined." 

"What!" cried the Major. "You are 
joking." 

"Not much of a joke," ol)served Honoria, 
" to lose thirty thousand ])ounds in one fell 
swoop. That is the correct quotation, I 
believe." 

Major Causton's eyes travelled from her to 
Redwood, and back again. " You're a pair 
of bantams. What odds have vou cot ? " 

" Landed estate," said Honoria quietly. 
" When I see Morning Glory's number the 
first to go up I shall be the mistress of 
Chudleigh. I refer you to Eedwood." 

" There's no trusting^ to a woman's ton<:fue," 
said Redwood, sulkily. " It's a true bill. 
And when she sees Abracadabra's number 
go up first she'll be the poorer by thirty 
thousand pounds." 

Major Causton whistled. 

"Then," said Honoria, in her sweetest 



140 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

voice, " I shall have to commence life all 
over again, and Redwood has promised to be 
my friend." 

" I understand," said Causton. " It's one 
throw of the dice, and the battle's lost or 
won. Lady of Chudleigh, or " 

She finished the sentence for him. " Or a 
poor girl without a frock to her back, as I 
was when Eedwood first knew me." 

No further words were exchanged : all 
their attention was now centred on the 
horses, which had reached the post. It 
was not an easy job for the starter ; again 
and again the line was broken before he 
lowered his flaof. 

" What's that devil breaking away ? " 
shouted a man in the rear who had no glasses 
to assist him. 

No one near him replied ; it was Abra- 
cadabra. In this particular box the on- 
looker's were too deeply absorbed by con- 
flicting passion to speak. From the near 
distance below them in the ring came the 
answer : 



THE KACE. 141 

"It's the favourite ! I'll take seven to four 
in hundreds." 

" Done ! " cried a backer, and the bet was 
booked. 

A sigh of relief escasped from hundreds of 
the spectators who had backed Abracadabra ; 
the horse had only gone fifty yards, and was 
now leisurely turning round. Louis Eedwood 
never took his eyes from his Voightlander. 
A loud shout arose from the vast throngf. 
"They're off! They're off! " And a moment 
afterwards. " Xo ! False start ! " Abraca- 
dabra was the last to pull up. 

Major Causton glanced at Eedwood, but 
could read nothing on that gentleman's face. 
Had Eedwood's thoughts been expressed in 
words he would have heard " Damn him ! 
What is he up to ? " But such outspoken 
utterance would have been considered bad 
form. In these preliminary movements 
Morning Glory had behaved admirably, 
showing not the least symptom of fretfulness 
or nervousness. The bettim? on the race was 
for the most part over ; only here and there did 



142 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

a small ready-money bookmaker or a welslier 
give occasional odds. Once more the horses 
seemed to be getting fairly in line, and again 
Abracadabra broke awav ; and still Eedwood's 
face exhibited no trace of emotion. There 
was a delay of a couple of minutes, during 
which Eedwood calmly wiped the film from 
his glass. 

" He takes it coolly," thought Major 
Causton. " I should be another .Vesuvius if 
I were in his place. Is there anything wrong 
with Abracadabra ? " 

There had now been three false starts, and 
the suspense to many was maddening. For 
the fourth time a mighty roar rang out, 
" They're off! They're off! " The two white 
flags were dropped, one after another, and 
the bell was rung. A sudden hush fell upon 
the assembled thousands, each interested 
spectator following the movements of his 
own horse with suppressed excitement. 
Presently, however, tongues became loosened, 
and remarks were made and questions asked 
as the horses changed positions. Abracadabra 



THE RACE. 143 

and Morning Glory had both got well off, and 
were lying sixth and seventh, Morning Glory 
being, at the favourite's heels. So they ran 
for three quarters of a mile. Redwood was 
quite satisfied with the position of his horse, 
whose jockey was following out his instruc- 
tions to the letter, but occupied as he was in 
watching Abracadabra he cast an uneasy 
glance now and again at Morning Glory, 
whose tactics seemed to be to wait upon the 
favourite about three-quarters of a length in 
the rear. That Morning Glory should keep 
this unvarying position till they reached 
Tattenham Corner was a torment to Redwood, 
who would have been better pleased to see the 
horse he feared fall a length or two behind, 
or even to forge ahead before the real pinch 
came. The voices of the spectators grew 
louder as the horses rounded Tattenham 
Corner. The pace had been a cracker from 
the start, and now the leaders, having shot 
their bolt, lost ground at every stride. Up 
the straight they came, a gaily-coloured 
cavalcade of iov and miserv. Abracadabra 



14 1 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

and Morning Glory were now fourth and 
fifth, their relative positions being precisely 
the same as they had been all through the 
race. The air was pierced with shouts, and 
screams, and yells. " Ten to one on the 
favourite ! Abracadabra wins ! The favourite 
Avins ! What about Morning Glory ? " They 
were second and third now ; the leader, an 
outsider succumbed, and they were first and 
second, and within two hundred yards of the 
winning post. A chill fell upon Louis Eed- 
wood even in the midst of his excitement. 
It seemed to him as if Morning Glory had not 
varied an inch in its position towards Abra- 
cadabra, and as if Fate were waiting the final 
flash of a moment to deal him a fatal blow. 
NothincT else was in the race but these two 
horses, their nearest competitor being three 
lengths behind. A hundred yards only to the 
winning post, and Morning Glory drew slowly 
up. " Abracadabra wins ! The favourite 
wins ! The favourite ! The favourite ! Morn- 
ing Glory! I'll take two to one Morning 
Glory ! Morning Glory ! Morning Glory ! 



THE RACE. 145 

Abracadabra ! " The din was deafeniim ; it 
was as if Babel had broke loose. Hearts 
beat almost to bursting, faces flushed, eyes 
glared, voices were strained till they were in 
danger of cracking. A man fell down in a 
fit, foaming at the mouth, but no one paid 
him any attention. By a stroke of masterly 
riding Morning Glory's jockey had stolen in 
between Abracadabra and the rails ; Beane 
had no need to turn his head ; he felt the 
snort of his rival's nostrils ; only four strides 
and the goal was reached. At the first of 
these four strides Morning Glory was within 
half a head of Abracadabra ; at the second 
within a quarter of a head ; at the third they 
were neck and neck. Fortune, fame, repu- 
tation, years of pleasure, the degradation of 
lives, rescue from despair and shame, hung 
upon the last stride of these noble animals, 
whose jockeys, at the supreme moment seemed 
to lift them to the winning post, which they 
passed amidst a scene of indiscribable excite- 
ment. 

" The favourite's won ! No, Morninof Glorv ! 
VOL. III. 40 



140 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

I'll take odds it'« a dead lieat ! Yes, a dead 
heat — a dead heat ! " 

A shrewd, mottle-faced bookmaker leaning 
against a post made his deep voice heard 
through all the uproar. 

" Two monkeys to one on Morning Glory ! " 

Kedwood heard and recognised this voice, 
and he knew that when the issue of a race 
was in doubt it never erred. He did not 
move however ; his eyes were fixed upon the 
board. Scarcely two or three moments had 
elapsed since the horses had passed the post, 
but it seemed an age. The men were waiting 
on the platform with numbers in their hands, 
looking towards the judge's box for their in- 
struction. They stooped, and selected a 
number, and before they fixed it in its place 
the result was yelled all over the course. The 
number was 2. Morning Glory was declared 
the winner. Abracadabra second. 

With a smile on his lips and a curse in his 
heart, Louis Redwood dropped his glass, and 
as he put it in its sling he turned to Honoria. 

" You have won," he said. 



THE RACE. 147 

Honoria nodded, and returned liis smile. 

She was a little dazed, because she did not 
3'et quite realize the situation, but she be- 
trayed very little excitement. In the first flush 
of his defeat Louis Eedwood gave scarcely a 
thouirht to the material stake he had lost. It 
was the probable loss of Ilonoria that stung 
him most ; she had slipped from his grasp 
in the very moment of his triumph, and 
still remained her own mistress, more than 
ever independent of him. There was yet a 
hope, however — a slender one, it is true, but 
it had happened before, and might happen 
now — that the winning jockey could not draw 
the weifjlit. He offered his arm to Honoria. 

" Coming to the paddock ? " he asked. 

" Yes," she replied, and placing her hand on 
his arm walked with him. She could not but 
admire him for his ease and self-possession. 
"Are you going to raise an objection?" she 
inquired. 

" Objection be hanged ! " he exclaimed. 
"The race is fairly won and lost. How do 
you feel ? " 

40* 



148 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" I don't know yet ; I'll tell you by and 
by. How do you feel after such a knock ? " 

" Oil, it isn't the money that troubles 
me," he said. " It's you. Are we friends 
still ? " 

" Why, certainly. What should I do 
without you ? " 

There was comfort in this. " You've said 
it, mind," he cried. 

" I've said it," she replied. " It will 
depend upon yourself." 

" In what way ? " 

" Didn't I tell you I don't know yet ? I 
must have time to get my breath. I've a 
great deal to think of now. Hunted out of 
Chudleigh the last time I was there. Eeturn- 
ing to it its mistress and lady. There, don't 
let's talk about it just now. The mere 
thought of it bewilders me." 

" Only one question. Am I invited to the 
house-warming ? " 

" Of course you are. The house-warming ! 
Yes, I dare say I shall give you one. It will 
be rare fun. You're first on the list." 



THE RACE. 149 

They met the returning horses at the gate 
of the paddock. As Morning Glory came 
in first between the divided line of spectators 
the jockey and Ilonoria exchanged a smiling 
glance. 

" Hallo ! " whispered Eedwood to her. 

" 0, yes," said Honoria, as if answering a 
question. " We have understood each other 
for weeks past. We each played our own 
bats, Eedwood." 

" Where did you get your brains from ? " 
he asked. 

" That's the question. I'm a waif and stray, 
you know." 

" You're the loveliest woman in England." 

"Especially now," she said, showing her 
white teeth. 

" Especially always," he retorted. " I have 
never wavered." 

" You forget. You did once." 

" That belongs to ancient history." 

" It was only yesterday. I can see myself 
at this moment in Chudleigh Woods. Good 
God ! I was going to throw myself into the 



150 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

lake ! And noAv ! " — she could not finish the 
sentence. 

The jockeys passed the scales, and the 
voices of the racing touts rang through the 
air. " All rio-ht ! " " All rio^ht ! " Eedwood 
did not exchange a word with his jockey 
Beane ; he believed in his heart that he had 
been sold. 

His disasters did not end here ; the day 
was not yet over. He and Honoria had 
heavy bets on the next two races, the High 
Weight Handicap and the Stanley Stakes, and 
the result was the same. He lost, and 
Honoria won. 

" Your star is in the ascendant." he said. 

"I hear you have a notion of giving a 
house-warming at Chudleigh," said Major 
Causton to her. " Is the furniture at the 
Hall yours as well as the estate ? " 

" I never thought of that," she replied, and 
at once attacked Eedwood. 

" I will make you a present of it," he said 
grandly. 

" It is not mine, then ? " she asked. 



THE EACE. 151 

" You did not win it," he said. What you 
won was landed property. I should like to 
lay you under an obligation to me." 

" I am under too many already. Besides, 
I don't wish to bleed } on to death." 

" What does it matter ? " he muttered. 

" Oh, I have a heart, though you may not 
believe it. No, I will not accept the gift. 
What do you value the lot at, pictures, 
furniture, belongings, everything?" 

" i am no tradesman," 

" But name a sum — a fancy sum, if you like." 

" Say five thousand pounds ; but I don't 
sell." 

" We'll bet on it." 

" Anything you like." 

The numbers for the next race, the Juvenile 
Plate, were going up. 

" Let us try our luck," she suggested. " I'll 
take odds against evens, and bet you five 
thousand pounds to everything that is in the 
Hall." 

"I'm content," said Redwood, and the bet 
was made. 



152 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

The race was run, and up went the No. 7. 

Eedwood laughed, and said, " Nicked 
again. Now you are mistress of everything. 
If you w^ant a waiter, hire me." 

" Upon my soul," said one of the party. 
" She can't lose. Providence is on her side." 

" I believe in the other gentleman," 
observed Eedwood. " This is a black 
Wednesday for me, and no mistake." 



<r-^&_yC}i)(^ S^^-i 



CHArTER XXXVIIL 

AGNES AND RACHEL IX LONDON. 

It is time to turn our attention to the other 
side of the picture and it will be a relief to 
many to leave the seamy side of human nature 
awhile. 

From the day A£fnes Haldane left her 
father's house she had led a life of patient 
toil. She and Eachel Diprose did not remain 
long in the lodgings they took when they first 
came to London ; at Mr. Palmer's wish Asnes 
took rooms close to his residence in West- 
minster Palace road, and thus she had a 
friend near her upon whom she could rely. 
His first anxiety was, how they should live ? 
She and Rachel, as we know, had but little 
money between them, and they set to work 
at once to solve the problem upon which 
hundreds of thousands of people in this great 



154 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

city are engaged from the cradle to the grave. 
Agnes and her faithful maid had many a 
battle with respect to expenditure. The 
young lady did not wish to touch Kachel's 
store, but George Millington's sweetheart 
would not be denied. 

" Bless you, my dear young lad}^" said 
Eachel, " what 3'ou've got won't keep you a 
month, and then what are 3^ou going to do ? 
If you don't use my money I'll throw it in 
the fire, and then, if you please, you won't be 
hard enough to turn me away to starve. 
For that's what it will come to. And even 
then I'll never leave 3"ou. You can call in 
the police, of course, but I don't think 
they'll take me up, because you won't be 
table to make them believe I'm doing any- 
thino; wroncf." 

" But, dear Eachel," urged Agnes, " can't 
you see the difficulty j^ou're placing me in ? " 

" No, Miss, I can't," said Eachel stoutly, 
" and that's flat." 

" I insist upon j'our listening to reason, 
Eachel." 



AGNES AND RACHEL IN LONDON. 155 

" I'll listen to anything you say, Miss, but 
that doesn't mean that I shall agree with it." 

" Sit down, and hear reason." Rachel 
sat down and gazed stolidly before her. 
"Look at me, Eacliel." 

" Yes, Miss ; but don't break my heart, 
please." 

" You foolish girl, you know I love you too 
well for that." 

" And I love you too Avell, Miss, if you'll 
forgive me for saying so, to leave you all 
alone in this great black city, with its crowds 
of strangers, and its smoke, and its hard 
ways." 

" I know you love me, Eachel, but you 
must remember your duty." 

"It's what I am rememberinir, Miss." 

" I shall be cross with you if you interrupt 
me, Eacliel." 

" Then I won't speak another word. Miss," 
and Eacliel threw her apron over her face. 

Agnes softh' removed it, and her fingers 
touched Eachel's neck caressingly. Eachel 
caught her young lady's hand, and kissed it 



Ue THE MARCH OF FATE. 

and would not let it go. It was only by 
the exercise of gentle force tnat Agnes could 
release herself, for it was manifestly impossible 
for her to say what was in her mind with the 
faithful girl hanging on to her hand like that. 

" I'm afraid," said Agnes, reprovingly, 
" that you are very backward in some things." 

" Begging your pardon, Miss," said Eachel, 
boldly, " so are you." 

" Tell me my faults, Eachel." 

Only too glad for this diversion, Eachel 
said : " Well, Miss, in cooking^, for one 



'&' 



thing. 



ii 



I fear you are right, Eachel, but I shall 
soon learn." 

" Pray, Miss, who are you going to learn 
from ? " 

" Oh, I shall teach myself," replied Agnes, 
feeling herself at a disadvantage. 

" It's not possible, Miss. You couldn't 
learn a foreign language without a book, or 
a guide, or living in a foreign countr}^ Now, 
could you. Miss ? " 

" It would be difficult, I own," said Agnes, 



AGNES AND KACHEL IN LONDON. 157 

who could not resist a smile at this direct 
thrust. 

"That's where it is, Miss. Cookin<]f's a 
foreign language to you." 

"No, Eachel, it is a very different thing." 

" Why, how can you say so. Miss ? Wlien 
I was out yesterday, didn't you try to boil a 
potatoe ? What came of it ? " 

" Not a boiled potatoe, certainly," confessed 
Agnes, laughing outright. 

"That settles it. Miss," said Eachel, and 
would have risen from her chair if Agnes had 
not forced her down. 

" It does not settle it. I shall learn in a 
Httle while." 

" Three times have you tried. Miss," said 
the obstinate Rachel, " and three times have 
you made a — well, I won't say what of it. 
It'll take you years to learn, and do you 
think I could sit by, and never see a flourv 
one on your plate ? No, I couldn't. I should 
be a murderer." 

" A murderer, Rachel ! Oh, you foolish 
girl ! " 



158 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Not at all, Miss. To eat 'em as vou boil 
'em would be the death of you, and it's me 
that would brin^ it about." 

" Is there any arguing with such a 
creature ? " asked Agnes, casting bright 
looks around. 

" No, Miss, there isn't." And Eachel tried 
to rise again, as though the discussion had 
reached its natural end. 

" You will make me angry with you, 
Eachel." 

"Anything but that, Miss," said Eachel, 
with a deep sigh of resignation, " except 
leaving you.' 

" Eachel, my dear, you have a sweet- 
heart ? " 

" I have. Miss ; as good a man as ever 
stepped." 

" He loves you fondly, you fortunate girl, 
and you must do your duty by him." 

" I'm doing it. Miss, by keeping with you." 

" Now, Eachel, Eachel ! " 

" It's true, Miss. If he thought different 
I'd never look at him again, because neither 



AGNES AND RACHEL IN LONDON. 169 

my GeorL(e nor any man shall ever make me 
do what I think is wrong." 

" Is it not possible," said Agnes in her 
gentlest tone, " that you yourself may ]je 
doing wrong in not going to the home he is 
providing for you ? " 

" No, Miss, I don't think it is. The home 
can wait, and so can George. Il" he is 
satisfied, and I am satisfied, what's the use of 
talking about it ? " 

" Eacliel, my dear, your George is a man 
of right feeling and good judgment. I will 
tell you what I should say if I were in his 
place. ' Here is my dear sweetheart ' — I am 
speaking for him, you know — ' Here is my 
dear sweetheart lovin^ me, and readv to 
come to me, and here I am ready to com- 
mence a new and happy life with the dearest 
girl in the world. But somebody is keeping 
us from each other, somebody is separating 
us. That somebody is a selfish lady, who is 
doing all she can to prevent my Kachel and 
me from being happy together. She ought 
to be ashamed of herself to impose upon a 



160 THli MARCH OF FATE. 

foolish simple girl so.' And George is right, 
my dear ; I am ashamed of myself for acting 
so. Do you see it as I do ? " 

"No, Miss," said Rachel, steadily, and 
somewhat slowly, " if I did I should despise 
myself ; if I did I should not be worthy of 
any man. 0, my dear young lady, you are 
doing a great wrong by calling yourself 
selfish, and by thinking what you say. But 
you don't, you don't ! It is only because you 
don't think of yourself, but only of me, that 
3^ou are trying to persuade me to leave you. 
And it is true, is it, that you are doing all 
you can to keep us apart ? Are you not 
doing everything possible to bring us together 
a month or two sooner than we want to be ? 
George knows this as well as myself, and if I 
was to go to him this very day and say, 
' Here I am, George ; I have left her, and 
now you can put up the banns,' I believe 
he'd turn his back upon me, and curl up his 
lip, and say, ' I don't want you ; you're not 
the girl I took you for.' That's what you'd 
be doina'j Miss ; separating us instead of 



AQNES AND RACHEL IN LONDON, 161 

bringing us together. If you want to do 
that " 

And here Eachel broke out into tears, and 
her. agitation was more powerful than her 
arguments. The two mingled their tears 
together, and so for a time there was a break 
in this fond battle. But it was only a break. 
Agnes renewed it again and again, until at 
length George Milhngton himself spoke to her 
about it, and declared that Eachel was actinsr 
with his full and free consent. It must be 
confessed that the young fellow was some- 
what rueful, for the longing to commence 
the new and happy life was strong upon him, 
but he spoke up manfuU}^, and whatever 
opinion Agnes may have entertained of his 
absolute sincerity she was compelled to give 
way. Eachel loved him all the more for his 
self-denial, and she made it up to him in the 
tender courtship between them, looking for- 
ward always to the bright future in a way (as 
she told him) she never could have thought 
of if things had been different. 

And now, perhaps it may be supposed that, 

VOL. III. 41 



1G2 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

after the usual fashion of novelists, the story 
will branch out into a dismal record of the 
struggles and privations endured by these two 
brave and obstinate young women. But, 
happilv, there is no need for this, and the writer 
is not called upon to invent melancholy inci- 
dents and episodes to excite the reader's com- 
passion. Struggles they had, but not greater 
than they could cope with. They had to 
work for their living as a matter of course. 
The question was, what kind of work they 
were fitted for and could obtain, to pay the 
necessary expenses of board and lodging. 
Thev succeeded in getting needlework, but 
after a month's trial found that it was not 
only slavery which would make their young 
lives a burden, but that even then they could 
not earn sufficient to pay their way. This 
applies especially to Agnes, who could do 
dainty, but not rough work, and such dehcate 
labour with the needle as she was fitted for 
was not to be obtained. It was difierent 
with Eachel. Putting down figures and 
makincf calculations — vou have no idea how 



AGNES AND RACHEL IN LONDON. 163 

business-like they were in their practical con- 
sideration of their position — it was found that 
Eachel with her needle could earn an averajze 
of eight shillings a week, and find time as 
well to do the cooking and housekeeping. 
Further than this she had no need, for the 
earning of these weekly shillings, to work 
after seven o'clock p.m., and this left her 
eveninijrs free for Georire — thouirli she would 
not have him come every day ; she hmited 
him to twice a week, which, after a time, was 
extended to three evenings out of the seven. 
Then, about Agnes. Assisted by Mr. Palmer's 
limited influence, she actually succeeded in 
securing a footing in a postal telegraph office, 
where she proved so valuable an acquisition, 
that she brought home with her every week 
no less a sum than eighteen shillings. This, 
with Eachel's eight, made up a total of 
twentj'-six shilhngs, and upon this they Hved 
as happily as they could expect under the 
circumstances into which they had been 
plunged. 

It has been indicated and plainly stated 

41' 



164 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

that these two younir women were of an ob- 
stinate nature. Obstinate may not be the 
proper term ; say, rather, that they were 
firm in their resolves, and that, having? made 
up their minds as to what it was right to 
do, they carried out their resolutions with 
surprising firmness. In this spirit they were 
equals, and neither could fairly claim the 
advantage over the other. Instances of 
Eachel's firmness and remarkable consistency 
have already been given. We will say a 
word now of Agnes' conduct in this respect. 

Frederick Palmer came home from Xew 
Zealand, all his castles in the air tumbled 
down and extinguished. lie went out to 
make his fortune ; he came home penniless, 
and in feeble health. But the medicine of 
love, no less than his own manliness and 
courage, soon restored him, and he put his 
shoulder to the wheel with a will. Tender 
and sweet was the first meeting of tlie lovers, 
and as tender and sweet was the after com- 
munion of two young souls welded together 
by pure and true affection. 



AGNES AND KACIIEL IN LONDON. 165 

" I liave Agnes to work for now," said 
Frederick to liis father. " Money separated 
us ; the want of money unites us. Let us be 
thaukful for poverty." 

This was quixotic, but there was a measure 
of sincerity and absolute thankfuhiess in it. 
And shortly after his return to England an 
astonisliini2f thiniT occurred. The world, that 
had been blind so long, suddenly opened its 
eyes to the undoubted genius of father and 
son. They painted pictures which were 
talked of, and the consequence was that they 
found themselves ascending the ladder. Their 
paintings were welcomed in the Academy 
and the galleries, and they had the satisfaction 
of seeing them hung. Unfortunately they fell 
into the hands of picture dealers, not in the 
first rank, and were beguiled by this crew 
into mortgaging their brushes three years 
ahead. Only those who have worked for 
years, hoping against hope, till hope is almost 
dead, know how easy it is to fall a victim to 
these sharp dealers. But the Palmers, father 
and son, were satisfied. The long struggle 



166 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

was over, and fame was theirs, and fortune 
would be ; and for the present their purses 
were sufficiently filled for their needs. 

But love is impatient, and Frederick 
pleaded for marriage. Agnes listened, and 
her heart went out to him, but the promise to 
her father held her back. 

" He is not in England," said Frederick, 
" and you do not know in what part of the 
world he is to be found. How, then, can you 
obtain his consent ? " 

" It was a solemn promise," Agnes an- 
swered, " solemnly given, and I feel that it is 
binding upon me. It is my duty to wait." 

He pleaded, but pleaded in vain ; she was 
not to be moved. Thus did she rival her 
faithful maid, Eachel Diprose. All that he 
could prevail upon her to undertake was that 
if she could not obtain her father's consent to 
their union before she was three and twenty, 
she would ask him to wait no longer. With 
this he was fain to be content, and Eachel, 
being informed of her mistress's resolve, com- 
municated it to George Millington, who also 



AGN£S AND KACllEL IN LONDON. 167 

possessed liis soul in patience. If he and 
Frederick Palmer had compared notes, they 
would have agreed that their prospective 
brides had remarkable strength of character 
and an equally remarkable sense of duty. 
Setting marriage aside awhile, they had much 
to be thankful for. The course of true love 
was running smooth, and a bright future lay 
before them. 



•«\«.iw 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



honoria's luck. 



HoNORiA became a very busy woman indeed 
after Goodwood ; the administration of her 
affairs occupied her day and night. Before 
Goodwood she had had enough to do, but she 
conducted her transactions more privately. 
Apart from these transactions, some chie to 
the nature of which will in due time be given, 
she became more than ever a public character. 
The extraordinary bets she had made with 
Louis Redwood leaked out, and were recorded 
and commented upon in the society papers. 
She was spoken of as " the lady of Chudleigh," 
and the strait-laced portion of society were 
much scandalized by the news that a woman 
of more than doubtful reputation had come 
into possession of an estate boasting of an 
ancient and honourable record. Of the 
attacks made upon her she took no notice 



IIONORIA'S LUCK. IG'J 

whatever. That she read them was evident, 
for the papers containing them were always 
to be found in her house. Probablv she was 
aware that she had more friends than enemies, 
and it is a fact that in many quarters, and 
with thousands and thousands of people who 
had never beheld her, she was spoken of in 
terms of genuine admiration. She was as 
deservinjT of this admiration as of the fainter 
censure which pursued her. That her nature 
was kind and sympathetic and that an appeal 
to her charity was seldom made in vain were 
facts which had lon<]f been established, but 
after the Derb}' she came out in a new cha- 
racter. Xo public appeal for money for 
charitable purposes was made without her 
responding to it, and her name was to be 
found in every advertised list of subscriptions. 
A number of miners perished in a colliery 
explosion, and an appeal for a widows' and 
orphans' fund was made, under the auspices 
of the Lord Mayor. " Honoria, £50." The 
poor-box of a magistrate's court was stated to 
be empty. " Honoria, £20." The circum- 



170 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

stances of a destitute family were brought to 
liglit by the harsh and unnecessary summons 
of a Board School inspector, and some small 
subscriptions were sent to the magistrate to 
lift them from poverty. Among these sub- 
scriptions, "Honoria, £5." A child's paper 
asked for help towards a sick cot in a hospital. 
"Honoria, £10," Other hospitals appealed 
for funds, and Honoria contributed to all. 
She made no distinction of race or class, but 
gave liberally to every one. Like the constant 
dripping of water, this merciful iteration of 
her name had its effect in softening the feelings 
of those who were inclined to judge her 
harshly ; in a certain sense it cut the ground 
from under their feet, and had an open com- 
parison of their charit}^ and hers been made 
it would not have resulted favourably to 
them. The curiosity of strangers grew apace, 
and the name of Honoria was in everyone's 
mouth. An article in a society paper went 
the round of the press in a more or less 
abridged form. In this article, which was 
headed, " Honoria and her Charities," a list 



HONORIA'S LUCK. 171 

was given of the amounts slie liad contributed 
to benevolent purposes in the course of six 
weeks ; it totted up to £2,000. " This," said 
the writer, " is at the rate of £18,000 per 
annum. And we have it on undoubted 
authority that her private benefactions are on 
as large-hearted a scale. AVho, after this, will 
venture to whisper a word aganist her ? She 
sets a noble example to ladies who pride 
themselves upon their virtue." In these days 
of publicity such interesting items as this reach 
all classes of society, from the higliest to the 
lowest, and in the poorer quarters of the city, 
especially, Honoria was idealized far beyond 
her deserts or the deserts of any woman. 
Thus the measure of her popularity could net 
but be acreeable to her. 

In other ways, also, she continued to excite 
wonder and admiration. After Epsom came 
Ascot, and there she won more monev, some 
of it from Eedwood, who was bemnnin^ to be 
spoken of with bated breath. The knowing 
ones said, " It is impossible for him to last long 
at the pace he is going." After Ascot came 



172 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Sandown, and her luck continued. Then 
Kempton, and Sandown again (she did not go 
to Newmarket), and finally Goodwood ; and 
at all these meetings she added to her store. 
As she rose, Louis Eedwood fell, but he bore 
his losses with outward equanimity and com- 
posure, and paid up without a murmur. It was 
true that to do this he was compelled to have 
sudden and secret conferences with his legal 
agents, Lamb and Freshwater, at which they 
invariably looked very grave, and shook their 
heads after his departure ; but their alarm at 
this driftino- of his boat of f^ood fortune did 
not appear to have any effect upon Eedwood, 
who was as haughty and imperious as ever, 
and would not listen to expostulations. Clerks 
were kept up all night preparing deeds, which 
were brought to him early in the morning for 
his signature ; and the spendthrift would after- 
wards be seen in his usual haunts with un- 
ruffled feathers and spirits. It was a peculiar 
feature in his conduct during these disastrous 
weeks that, adoring Honoria as he professed, 
he set himself determinedly against her in all 



lIONOJilA'S LUCK. 173 

matters of chance or .skill upon which money- 
was staked. It was only necessary for her to 
say that she was going to Lack a horse at 
such and such a meeting, and he would irame- 
dia,tely offer to lay against it. She took the 
odds from him, saying lightly, " You may as 
well lose your money to me as to anyone 
else." " Better," he replied ; " but I shall beat 
you yet, my lady." In her house baccarat 
and roulette were occasionally played ; when 
she backed red, he backed black, and so with 
other chances. And her good luck stuck to 
her and his bad luck stuck to him. They did 
not play for small stakes ; large sums of 
money were lost and won. At Goodwood 
came some " swashing blows." He had a 
horse in the Steward's Cup ; he backed it and 
lost. A two-year-old in the Prince of Wales' 
Stakes cost him a lot of money. He laughed 
at these reverses, for was he not going to pull 
it all back, and more, on the Goodwood Cup, 
in which his horse was favourite at long 
odds on. The ring, always ready to strip 
the skin off a man's back, obliged him by 



174 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

taking the odds from liim. Honoria, also 
challenged, accepted what he offered ; and 
the result was that his horse was beaten 
b}' a good two lengths. Honoria looked 
at him curiously at this last stroke, and for 
the first tim.e she saw his lips twitch. But 
he recovered himself almost immediately, 
and, with a dare-devil laugh, asked her if 
she was coming to the paddock. On the 
way, he said ; 

" Did it ever occur to you that I mio-lit one 
day commit murder ? " 

" Not exactly that," she replied. " Your 
courage would fail you at the last moment." 

AYhen she saw him look at the renowned 
jockey Beane, who rode his horses and could 
win for other owners and not for him, she 
knew what he meant. She herself had a 
suspicion that Beane was " selling " his master 
in the interests of certain bookmakers, and 
had often wondered why Eedwood did not put 
up some other jockey. She had, indeed, ex- 
pressed this wonder to him, not imagining 
that her doubt of the jockey's honesty was 



HONORIA'S LUCK. 175 

sufficient to make Eedwood stick to him all 
the closer. 

Meanwhile all Chudleigh was in a state of 
the '.greatest excitement. The village was 
once more alive. Relays of workmen made 
their appearance, and the old house and the 
park were put in thorough order. Money was 
spent freely, and the inhabitants, who had 
fallen into the dullest of trances, suddenly 
shook themselves awake and behaved with 
animation. The landlord of " The Brindled 
Cow " polished up his pots and glasses, and 
briskly bestirred himself. For were not his 
bar and taproom thronged with the men 
Honoria's agents had sent down to put the 
place in order for her, and was not his till 
resounding with the chink of silver and 
copper? "It is like old times come again," 
he said, rubbinsf his hands. " And as sure as 
I'm alive there's my old friend, Simpson ! " 
There was his old friend Simpson truly, hold- 
inc^ out his hand to him and askins^ how he 
was. Simpson had been lent by Louis Eed- 
wood to Honoria, and was in Chudleigh now 



176 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

upon her business and in her interests. There 
was no newspaper in the sleepy village, and 
the world's affairs were so far apart from the 
inhabitants of Chudleigh that they did not 
trouble themselves about them. They had 
heard nothing of Honoria coming into posses- 
sion of the estate ; all that tliev knew was 
that the Haldanes had lost it, and that the 
Hall had been empty ever since. 

The landlord of " The Brindled Cow " did 
not find Simpson over communicative ; Simp- 
son had been warned not to let his tongue run 
too freely, and to be especially reticent as to 
who the new owner of the estate really was. 
He would have been better pleased if no re- 
striction had been put upon him, but he knew 
how to extract some tribute in the way of 
self-importance from the mystery. 

" You're the very man we want," said the 
landlord, after inviting Simpson to a drink. 
*' What sort of a family is it that's coming to 
the Hall ? Is it a large family ? Are they 
going to keep here? Are they rich? Are 
they free with their money ? " 



HONORIA'S LUCK. 177 

" Can't answer all your questions," said 
Simpson, " my position being a confidential 
one, you know. But you shall see what you 
shall, see. Don't let it go any further, but it's 
a lady that's now the master. That's between 
you and me. As for being free with her 
money, the Haldanes weren't in it with her." 

" That's enough for me," said the landlord 
blithely. 

" There's to be a house-warming," said 
Simpson ; " lot's of company ; any number of 
swells." 

" That sounds promising. A man might as 
well be dead as alive in the times we've fjone 
throufyh latelv. When are they coming ? " 

" About the end of August," said Simpson. 
" Exact date not fixed yet." 

And then, after partaking of another drink 
at the landlord's expense, Simpson went to 
the Hall to see how thins^s were i^ettinfj alonsf 
there. 



VOL. III. 42 



CHAPTER XL. 

THE THREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 

It was during^ the second week in Aui^ust that 
Honoria met with an adventure. She was 
shopping in Eegent Street, and, her purchases 
made, was about to step into her carriage 
when the figures of two persons attracted her 
attention. One was our friend Mr. MilHngton, 
the other an elderly woman in rags whom she 
did not know. Both were gazing at her, but 
in different ways. Pity, curiosity, and a 
certain quality of admiration were expressed 
in Mr. Millington's eyes, and a hungering 
greediness in the eyes of the woman. This 
latter might have been caused by the contrast 
between them, llonoria representing wealth 
and luxury, the elderly woman representing 
the uttermost depth of poverty. Honoria 
gave her a shilling, and, pausing a moment, 



THE THREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 179 

beckoned to Mr. Milliiigton, who, till then, 
had made no movement towards her. 

" It is a long time since we met," she said, 
holding out her hand to him. " Would you 
mind stepping into my carriage with me ? " 

" I had rather not," said Mr. Millington. 
*' If you wish to speak to me you can do so 
here." 

It was a rebuke, and Ilonoria accepted it 
as such, but she made no comment upon it. 

" It will not hurt you," she said, " to walk 
a little way with me." 

" No," he replied, " I will do that." 

They crossed the road, and Honoria led the 
way to a quieter street. The raggedly-dressed 
woman followed them at a little distance. 

" Mr. MiUington," said Honoria, " you see 
I do not forget your name — I am in your 
debt." 

" I am not aware of it." 

" You must remember the night jou took 
me from Chudleioh to London ? " 

" I remember it very well." 

" You paid for my fare, and spent money 

42* 



180 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

upon me. I owe you that much at all 
events." 

" The money was repaid to me." 

" By a lady ? " 

" By a lady." 

" It cannot do her any harm if I mention 
her name. Miss Haldane ? " 

" Yes. Miss Haldane." 

" Heaven reward her I I showed her great 
ingratitude. I do not seek to excuse myself, 
Mr. Millin^ton, and though I do not deserve 
your respect, it would be charitable to pity 
me. 

" I do sincerely pity you." 

" Thank you. Have you seen Miss Haldane 
lately ? " 

" I see her frequently." 

" Is she in London, then ? " 

" She has been in London for some time." 

" I trust she is happy." 

" She is as happy as she can be in her 
circumstances." 

" You cannot mean that she is poor ? " 

" If you have any other subject to speak 



THE TilREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 181 

of," said Mr. Millington, " do so, please. I 
cannot continue this." 

" You are right," said Honoria with a sigh. 
*' ]5([r. Millington, I think no one in London 
knows nie as I know myself. Even when 
you say you pit}^ me, you do it only out of 
compliment, and to save yourself from saying 
something harder." 

" You are wrong : I do honestly pity you." 
" I see Mr. Ilaldane every day," said 
Honoria, " and he does not mention his 
daughter's name. I hear he is not friendly 
with her. It is this, perhaps, that renders 
her less happy than she should be. In an 
indirect manner, Mr. Millington, I have shown 
some recognition of her kindness towards me. 
It has been my good fortune to be in a posi- 
tion to extend a helping hand to some poor 
persons, and to distribute a small portion of 
what has fallen to my share among those who 
are struscolinw with misfortune. It is the 
memory of her o-oodness that has uro-ed me to 
this and that will urge me to do it as long as 
it is in my power. It could not come out of 



182 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

my own nature, because I am thoroughly bad. 
Perhaps you will remember what I say when 
all the world turns its back upon me — as it 
did once before in my life — all the world but 
her. Mr. Millington, I have been thinking 
lately of writing to you and asking you to do 
me a service." 

" I cannot see in what way I can be of 
service to you," said Mr. Millington, stiffly. 

" It may be also rendering a service to two 
poor women in trouble, though that is not my 
only motive. I will not go into any further 
explanation, because you would neither 
understand nor sympathize with me. I 
thought it likely that you might recommend 
me to a reliable person who could obtain 
some information for me." 

" Some information respecting others ? " 

" Yes." 

" You want an inquiry agent ? " 

" Yes, an honest man." 

" There are plenty of them. Why come 
to me ? " 

" Because I want a man upon whom I can 



THE THEEADS AEE DRAWN CL08EK. 183 

thoroughly rely. It is a matter so dehcate 
that I would rather not go to an entire 
stranger. Will }ou oblige me ? " 

""I must lir.st know the name of the women 
you refer to," said Mr. Millington. He was 
not disposed to trust Ilonoria, and he had a 
suspicion that she had Miss Ilaldane and 
Rachel Diprose in her mind. 

" I will tell you willingly. Their name is 
Kennedy, and they live in Wellington Street, 
South Lambeth." 

" Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter ! " ex- 
claimed Mr. Millin<Tton. 

" You are acquainted with them ? " 

" No, but a friend of mine is, and strangely 
enough he is an inquiry agent, and in former 
years did some business for Mrs. Kennedy in 
connection with Mr. Haldane." 

The name escaped his lips before he could 
check its utterance. It was Honoria's turn 
now to be surprised. 

" That is very singular," she said, " and it 
makes me all the more anxious. He may be 
the very man I want. I beg that you will not 



184 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

refuse me. I assure you my motive is a 
good one." 

" I will be frank with you," said Mr. Milling- 
ton. " On the night before the Derby my friend 
and I were in the Eoyal Palace of Pleasure, 
and witnessed the accident to the lad whom 
you befriended and took to South Lambeth in 
your carriage. My friend heard you give the 
address — it was 7, Wellington Street, I think 
— and we followed you there. After you 
entered the house we saw Mrs. Kennedy come 
from it, with some work she was taking 
home." He paused a moment or two before 
he spoke again. " I will give you his address. 
His name is Barlow. He took the greatest 
interest in Mrs. Kennedy's commission, which 
was only relinquished because she had no 
money to prosecute it. It is likely he will be 
glad to take it up again. If he does, and 
carries it, with your help, to a successful 
issue, you will be the means of doing justice 
to one who has been grievously wronged." 
He wrote Mr. Barlow's name and address on 
a card, and gave it to Honoria. 



THE THREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 185 

" Is lie ill his oflfice noAv, Mr. Millington ? " 
she asked. 

" I think you will find him there." 

"I)o you live in the same house to which 
you took me on the night you brought me 
fromChudleigh?" 

"Yes." 

" Thank you. Perhaps you wdll not mind 
taking my card. You may wish to say some- 
thing to me on this or some other matter. Mr. 
Millington, you have laid me under another 
deep obligation to you. I am rich ; money is 
no object to me. Should you desire to serve 
any one and will come to me I shall be more 
than ever indebted to you." 

He stood with her card in his hand looking 
after her as she w^alked towards Eegent Street. 
So interested and enorossed was he in follow- 
ing her movements that the card slipped from 
his hand. The raggedly-dressed woman who 
had not removed her eyes from them during 
the interview, darted forward and picked it 
up. 

Yes," she mumbled, reading the name and 



a 



186 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

address, " Honoria. It is Honoria ! " A 
doubt crossed her mind. "But there may be 
more than one of that name." 

" The card, please," said Mr. MilUngton, 
but she put her hand behind her back. 

" She is a grand lady — a grand lady ! You 
know her, kind sir ? " 

" I know something of her. I will trouble 
you for the card." 

" Don't be in such a hurry, kind sir. She 
wouldn't thank you for it. What do you 
know of her ? Where she comes from, eh ? 
Tell me that, kind sir." 

" Indeed I shall not tell you. It can be no 
concern of yours." 

" If you won't tell me," cried the woman, 
"I'll tell you. What do you say to Chud- 
leigh, kind sir ? " 

"Come, come," said Mr. MilUngton, "you 
are not the only one who knows that. The 
lady gave you a shilling ; here's another for 
you. Now hand me that card. I want the 
address." 

" So do I, so do I — and my memory's not so 



THE THREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 187 

good as it was. Would you mind writing it 
down for me ? " 

Had he not wished to avoid a scene and 
get away, Mr. MiUington would have refused, 
so for his own sake, more than that of the 
wretched woman before him, he wrote the 
address on the back of an envelope, and 
recovered the card. 

" Would you like me to tell you, kind sir," 
said the woman, " where she came from before 
she went to Chudleigh ? What do you say to 
Bittern ? " 

Mr. Millington's memory was not in the 
same condition as hers, and he recollected 
that Bittern was the village mentioned by 
Simpson on his first introduction to Honoria 
in Chudleigh, as being the place she lived in 
when quite a little child, wdth a woman who 
suddenly disappeared and left her to the 
mercy of the world. Was this the woman ? 
This mental question caused him to tarry 
awhile. 

" Are you a native of Bittern ? " he asked. 

"No, kind sir." 



188 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

"Of Cliudleigh?" 

"No, kind sir. I am London born and 
London bred." 

" But you lived in Bittern a good many 
years ago, taking care of a child ? " 

She gave a Eoland for his Oliver. " That 
is no concern of yours," she said. " I've got a 
secret to sell. It might be worth money, now 
she's a fine lady. Who knows — who knows ? " 

She was hurrying away when he stopped 
her. "A moment, my good woman. You 
are not overburdened with money." 

" I'm very poor, very poor, kind sir," she 
whined. 

" I wiU give you," said Mr. Millington, pro- 
ducing his purse, " a shilling each if you will 
answer two questions, two simple, innocent 
questions." 

It was a tempting offer ; these shilhngs 
represented fine gold in the eyes of the 
poverty-stricken woman ; and yet she paused. 

" Depends upon what they are, kind sir." 

" You did live in Bittern some years ago, 
and a little child was in your care ? " 



THE THREADS ARE DRAWN CLOSER. 189 

'' That's the two questions," she said, with 
cuiming. 

"I mean it as one. The second will 
follow." 

"Yes, kind sir, I did. Give me a shilling." 

" Not till you have answered the second 
question. Was that child — a girl — your 
own?" 

" Was I her mother ? No, kind sir. Give 
me two shillings." 

He gave her the money, and she went away. 
He looked after her thoughtfully, as he had 
looked after Honoria. It was only when she 
was out of sight that he recollected that Mr. 
Haldane was the man who, under a false 
name, had betrayed the woman who was now 
passing as Mrs. Kennedy's daughter. Much 
disturbed in his mind, he w^alked slowly home. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

THE LADY OF CHUDLEIGH. 

On tlie 25 th of August, Honoria made her 
entrance into Chudleigh. On the day previous 
Louis Eedwood was closeted with his leo-al 
advisers — Messrs. Lamb and Freshwater. 

" We are bound to lay these matters before 
you, sir," said Mr. Lamb, who was the 
spokesman of the firm. 

"I suppose there's no help for it," said 
Louis Eedwood, " but it is an infernal 
nuisance for all that." 

" It is not quite the way to look at it," 
responded Mr. Lamb. 

"It is the way I look at it," retorted 
Eedwood. 

Mr. Lamb was a lawyer of the old school, 
and a gentleman of the old school. He still 
wore the frilled shirt and the high stock, and 
though his clothes were made by a modern 



THE LADY OF CHUDLEIGH. 191 

tailor, they were of the old cut and style. He 
would wear no other, and it added to the 
respect in which he w^as borne by clients as 
old, but not as old-fashioned, as himself. 

" The vital question now is," said Mr. Lamb, 
" what is to be done ? " 

Mr. Freshwater nodded, and his lips moved. 
He was mutely repeating his partner's words, 
« What is to be done ? " 

"That," replied Redwood, "is a question 
for you to answer." 

" It is a question, sir," said Mr. Lamb, 
" that we have been asking for several )'ears," 

" And a question," said Mr. Eedwood, 
"that you have always answered, and 
answered satisfactorily." 

" Everything," observed Mr. Lamb, " comes 
to an end." 

" Comes to an end," mutely repeated Mr. 
Freshwater. It was the part he played in 
interviews of this nature. 

"A fine estate," continued Mr. Lamb, as 
Louis Eedwood leant back in his chair, 
chewing a cigar, " wasted, squandered, I may 



192 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

say. A noble fortune which should now be 
standing at double the amount it was instead 
of standinof at zero." 

" Zero," said Louis Eedwood, " has been 
the ruin of many good fellows." 

" Will you look over these papers, sir ? " 

" Psha ! What would be the use ? I am 
perfectly satisfied with your figures. I have 
never questioned them. If I devote a week 
to an examination of them, it would not alter 
the result." 

" It would not, sir. They are here, how- 
ever, for your examination, at any time, or 
for the examination of any person you may 
appoint. Have you at the present moment 
any idea of the extent of your fortune on the 
day you came of age ? " 

"At the present moment I have no idea 
whatever. At the present moment I have 
only one wish, that the fortune was as 
great to-day as it was on the day I came of 
age." 

" We echo that wish, sir, with all our 
hearts." 



THE LADY OF CHUDLEIGH. 193 

" Mr. Freshwater mutely repeated, " With 
all our hearts." 

" But that," said Eedwood, " is an idle 
wish, licking up s])ilt milk. Quite out of 
the question." 

"Entirely. Your income, in round num- 
bers, sir, when you came of age, was eighty- 
two thousand pounds. Where has it all gone 
to?" 

"Echo answers," said Eedwood. 

" It was not our duty to dictate. Simply 
to advise. Occasionally to remonstrate." 

" Time thrown away, I am afraid." 

" Entirely thrown away, as to our sorrow 
we learned. You are aware, sir," said Mr. 
Lamb, waving his hand with a slow pathetic 
motion over the table which was strewn with 
papers, " what these spell now." 

" Tell me." 

"They spell ruin." 

"They spell ruin," mutely repeated Mr. 
Freshwater. 

" Absolute ? " 

" Absolute." 

VOL. HI. 43 



I'M THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" To the last thousand ? " 

" Perhaps not quite that. There is your 
estate in Warwickshire, upon which there is 
only a first mortgage. The property is 
increasinof in value." 

Louis Eedwood laughed. " I knew there 
W'as somethiuGf left — always a chestnut in the 
fire." 

"The last, sir, the last." 

" I have heard that before. Your friendly 
interest in ni}- welfare makes you take too 
melancholy a view. There is something still 
more beside the Warwickshire estate. Come, 
confess now, Mr. Lamb." 

" What I have done in earlier days affords 
no criterion. I assure you there is nothino; 
else left." 

" On your honour as a gentleman ? " 

" On my honour as a gentleman." 

" That settles it. A second mortgage, now, 
on the Warwickshire estate. How much can 
you raise ? " 

"I beg you to consider, sir." 

"I decline. Money I must have. It is 



THE LADY OF CHUDLEIGH. l'.>5 

increasing in value, you say. Borrow to the 
hilt. You have made inquiries, I know, and 
some sharp fellow is ready to plank the money 
down. How much ? " 

," Fifteen thousand," said Mr. Lamb, with a 
sigh. 

" I can break the bank a dozen times over 
with that amount. But I've a better diggings 
than Monte Carlo. Doncaster, Mr. Lamb, 
Doncaster. Do you know what will win the 
Leger ? I do, and I'll put a monkey on for 
you ; but I'm forgetting — you never bet. 
Not my own horse this time, Mr. Lamb. I 
can get ten to one, ten to one. Before a 
month has gone by that fifteen thousand will 
be a hundred thousand, and when once the 
ball is set rollin<:;j it <^oes on rollinii;. It's a 
mathematical certainty that the luck must 
turn if you don't desert your colours. Mr. 
Lamb, borrow that money for me immediately, 
without a day's delay, and pay it in to my 
credit. I am going to Chudleigh to-morrow, 
and shall be at the Manor HaU till the eiirhth 
of next month. I will run up to London to 

43* 



196 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

sign the deeds, or you can send them down 
to me. Whichever you please. Meanwhile 
you can oblige me by paying in to my bank a 
couple of thousand — say three. Is that under- 
stood ? " 

" We can do what you wish, sir ; but this 
will be the end." 

" Will be the end," repeated Mr. Fresh- 
water. 

"Not by a long way," said Redwood, 
shakinjT hands with his advisers. "Never 
prophesy until you know." 

Honoria's entrance into Chudleigh was an 
event destined to live in the memory of the 
oldest inhabitant, whoever that may be. 
With the exception of those who lived at the 
Rectory every man and woman turned out to 
welcome her. The small windows of the 
cottages that lined the narrow road leading to 
the park were bright with flowers, and every- 
ihiiiQ was sweet and fresh and trim. It had 
been her intention at first to go down by 
train, but she had been persuaded into adopt- 
ing the more public entry upon her property. 



THE LADY OF CHUDLEIGH. I'JT 

for it was really hers now, and she was the 
landlady of half the humble cottages she 
passed . 

■*' It will look like sneaking into the Hall," 
Eedwood said, " and as if you were ashamed 
of being seen there." 

That remark decided her. How well she 
remembered every nook and corner in the 
village, and the last night she had spent 
there ! She was very quiet as she rode along; 
there was no pride in her face. Its expression 
was sad even to sternness, and Louis Eedwood 
remarked it with surprise. 

" ^^llat has come over you ? " he asked. 
*' You are a changed woman." 

" Yes, I am changed," she replied, and her 
voice was hard and cold. " I have made a 
strange discovery this last week. I have 
never till now realized how thoroughly base 
and wicked a man can be." 

He chimed in with her humour. " We are 
a bad lot," he said, " but we are what we are 
made to be, I suppose." 

" What we are made to be ! " she said 



198 THE MAECH OF FATE. 

mutiinoi3-. " Yes, what we are made to be. 
Eedwood, if a man did you a mortal injury, 
if lie ruined your life and brought you down 
to the gutter, if through his act people looked 
upon him with contempt and scorn instead of 
respect, if by his cowardice and treachery he 
poisoned your blood and made a shame and 
a by-word of you, would you forgive him ? " 

Eedwood's face darkened. " Are you 
thinking of me," he asked, " and do you 
want me to trap myself ? " 

"I am not thinking of you, but of another 
man," 

" Then irive him down, and pay the debt 
you owe him ! " he cried savagely. 

" I must find some way to do this. Can I 
count upon your assistance ? " 

" There is nothing you bid me do that I will 
shrink from." 

It was hejwho was the beggar now, it was 
he who implored and entreated, and whose 
fate seemed to hang upon her words, as her 
fate had once hung upon his. They had 
ciiantred places. She ruled, and he was at 



THE LADY Of CHUDLEIGH. 199 

lier feet, at the feet of the outcast he had 
spurned and taunted in Chudleigh Woods. 

" You have your revenge," he said, as the 
women of the village curtseyed and locks 
were })ulled in servile obeisance. 

" I lake no pleasure in it," she said. 
" I would like to know what is in their 
hearts." 

" I would like to know what is in }ours." 

" Yuu may soon." 

He caught at her words, twisting hope out 
of them. 

" Do you mean it, Honoria ? " 

" I have never in my life been more in 
earnest, and that must content vou. Don't 
pester me with questions ; I must work my 
mood out my own way, which," she added, 
with a touch of her old self, "is a wilful way, 
as you have found out long since." 

" You are a witch," he said, " and I was a 
fool, once upon a time. But it's never too 
late to learn, I hoj^e." 

" I have a little surprise in store," she 
said, presently, " for some who will be my 



200 THE MARCR OF FATE. 

guests this week at the Hall, and I shall have 
a little secret which I must keep to myself till 
the time comes to reveal it. You have 
promised your assistance. If you fail, or cross 
me, I will never speak another word to you. 
Eem3mber that." 

He repeated his assurance of obedience, 
and then they talked of other matters. 

The following day the guests began to 
arrive, and Honoria welcomed them as though 
she had been born into the state in which she 
so strangely found herself. There was no 
awkwardness in her manners, and she and 
those she had invited were quite at home 
with each other. Mr. Haldane was there, 
and feeling himself called upon to play a 
part as strange as that of Honoria, he 
succeeded in concealino- his feelings. His 
worldly condition had not improved. His 
passion for gambling kept him poor, and on 
three separate occasions Honoria had lent 
him money. He was in need of a loan now, 
but Honoria held off somewhat, and told him 
he must wait. 



TIIK LADY OF CliUi^LEIGH. 2ul 

"You sliall liave more than 3-011 a.sk for," 
she said, " before our party breaks up." 

lie smiled his tlianks, and she suddenly 
turne.d her face from liim to conceal the ex- 
pression of loathing which flashed into it at 
his fawning. But though he did not see it he 
thought her manner strange, and he spoke of 
it to Eedwood. 

" She is in a queer temper," said Redwood ; 
"she told me so herself. Leave her alone; 
she'll soon come round." 

The guests were all men ; there was not a 
female among them ; men of the world, men 
about town, drawn together bv a cci'tain 
magnetism, and behaving decorously and with 
propriety, and yet with a freedom which 
would not have obtained in the restraining- 
presence of ladies. 

On the first nigfht of this "'atherinix an 
incident occurred of which only one of the 
guests was cognizant. All the men, with the 
exception of Major Causton, were playing 
cards or billiards. The hour was eleven, and 
the excitement of the gambling kept the men 



202 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

together. Outside on the lawn Honoria and 
Major Causton were holding watch. 

" You will not betray me ? " said Honoria. 

" As a man of honour and a gentleman," 
said Major Causton, his hand on his heart, 
" your secret is mine, and shall not pass my 
lips," 

Her own lips curled when he made this 
reference to himself as a gentleman and a 
man of honour, but she was satisfied with his 
assurance. She was to pay him well for such 
services as she needed from him. If he 
betrayed her his purse would be so much the 
lighter. To an impecunious man this fact 
was a sufficiently stronoj chain. 

" Hark ! " said Honoria. " I think I hear 
them." 

It was the sound of wheels she heard. The 
sound came closer, and at a signal from 
Causton, wdio had gone forward, a carriage 
with the windows down stopped within fifty 
yards of the house. Two w^omen, one support- 
ino- the other, alio'hted from the carriapje, and 
Honoria stepped lightly up to them, and 



THE LADY OF ClIUDLEIGH. 203 

passed her arm round the weaker of the two. 
The hall door was open. 

" See if all is safe," said lloiioria to Major 
Caustdn, " and wave your handkerchief if no 
one is about." 

The handkerchief was waved, and Ilonoria 
and her companions passed into the house, 
and ascended the stairs to the left wing, the 
apartments in which were devoted solely to 
Honoria's use. On the top of the staircase 
Honoria turned towards Major Causton, who 
was standing at the foot. She put her finger 
to her lips. Causton nodded, and the three 
women went into their apartments. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

MR. HALDANE SELLS HIS COxXSENT. 

On the following clay none of the guests saw 
their hostess. Xeither at breakfast nor at 
dinner did she make her appearance, and the 
men looked at each other and asked Mr. 
Haldane and Louis Redwood the reason of 
her absence. These gentlemen, however, 
could give no satisfactory reply to the inquiry, 
beinw as much in the dark as their com- 
panions. Privately they questioned Simpson, 
who knew little, but suspected much. Accus- 
tomed to pry slyly into matters which did not 
immediately concern himself he had ascer- 
tained that there had been sent into Honoria's 
apartments more than sufficient food for one 
person. Honoria had brought with her to 
the Hall a female servant entirely devoted to 
her, and upon whose secrecy she could rely. 



MR, HALDANE SELLS HLS CONSENT. 205 

This woman waited upon her mistress, and 
not one of the other servants was allowed to 
^nter the rooms whicli Ilonoria had set apart 

f 

for her own use. She took the trays and 
dishes, from the attendants who brought them 
from the kitchen, and waited until they had 
descended the stairs before she carried the 
food into her mistress' apartments, and in all 
her movements the same air of secrecy was 
observed. Simpson made an endeavour to 
ingratiate himself into her confidence, but she 
would exchange no words with him. " Very 
mysterious," said he to himself, and, his 
curiosity whetted, he applied himself to the 
task of elucidating the mystery. He was so 
far successful as to become convinced that 
there were other occupants hi the left wing 
besides Honoria and her servant, but his dis- 
coveries did not extend beyond this. Such as 
they were he communicated them to his 
master Louis Eedwood, who could make 
nothincf of them. 

" She is beyond me, Haldane," he said 
" Perhaps she has a surprise in store for us." 



206 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

Mr. Ilaldane had cogent reasons for wishing 
to see Honoria. The gambUng on the previous 
nio'ht had been heavv, and he had lost a larfi^e 
sum of money, for which he had given his 
paper, payable on demand. He had no 
means to meet his obligations, and he de- 
pended upon Ilonoria's half-promise to put 
him in funds. He sent a note to her, and 
received no reply. However, his creditors 
did not press him, and on the second night 
he played with them again, and again lost 
heavily. During the daytime the guests 
did pretty much as they liked ; smoked, 
rode, played billiards, and made excursions 
into the woods and "Tounds. It was not 
until night that serious play was indulged 
in. Honoria had privately put every one 
of them on good behaviour, otherwise 
the villagers would very likely have been 
scandalized. 

At noon on the third day the guests, talk- 
ing araonjT themselves, discussed Honoria's 
absence, and decided that it was altogether 
too bad for her to keep herself aloof from 



MR. HALDANE SELLS HIS CONSENT. 207 

them. Redwood mentioned Simpson's suspi- 
cions, that she had friends in her apartments 
to whom they had not been introduced. 
Simpson was called, and questioned. lie had 
seen nothing, but he had heard voices. 
" Men's voices ?" they asked. " No," repUed 
Simpson, " women's." They agreed that the 
affair was growing very strange, and one 
among them suggested that they should send 
a "round robin" to Ilonoria, in the shape of 
a petition, begging her to favour them with 
her presence, and to favour them, also, with 
an introduction to tlie ladies for whom she 
had deserted them. To this petition, which 
was signed by all her guests, Ilonoria returned 
a reply that she would meet them in the 
music-room (an apartment specially fitted for 
large receptions) in the course of a quarter of 
an hour. They thronged round her on her 
entrance, but she waved them away with a 
gesture of command which was instantly 
obeyed. One end of the music-room was 
slightly raised, so that, standing there, Ilonoria, 
who was above the ordinary stature of women, 



20S THE MARCH OF FATE. 

topped the tallest of lier guests by an inch or 
two. They noted a change in her. During 
the last few days she seemed to have grown 
years older ; there was a stern expression 
upon her face, and her eyes, travelling 
around, dwelt a moment with aversion upon 
the figure of Mr. Haldane, who had taken up 
his position to the left of her. She com- 
menced to speak abruptly. 

" It is scarcely courteous of me," she said, 
" that I should invite you here, and then, as 
you say, desert you. I hope tliere has been 
nothinof wantino-." 

They answered in various ways that every- 
thing was perfection, that her hospitality was 
princely, that if the Hall were their own 
they could not expect Ijetter treatment, and 
that the only thing they had to complain 
of was that she should absent herself from 
them. 

" I had a motive," she said, " which I do 
not intend to keep from 3'ou much longer. 
You are right in your surmise that I have lady 
friends in my private apartments to whom 



MK. IIALDANE SELLS ILLS CONSENT. 203 

you have not been introduced. Only one of 
the gentlemen present is acquainted with 
these ladies, and it is scarcely fair that he 
shoul'd possess a privilege from which the 
others are debarred. I propose to make you 
all acquainted with them this evening after 
dinner. I take it that you are all men of 
honour." 

They became grave instantly, and nodded. 
Even the shadiest amomrst them did not hesi- 
tate to claim the title. 

" It is a delicate matter," said Honoria, 
" and I believe I shall surprise and interest 
you in certain disclosures I propose to make 
to you after dinner. I wish to enlist your 
sympathies, your manliness, all that is best 
within you, in the cause of sufiernig and 
unmerited misfortune. Who will be my 
kniohts ? " 

Thev cried with one voice that all would. 
They had not the smallest understanding of 
her meanincr but thev imagined that she had 
some amusing novelty with which she in- 
tended to entertain them. 

VOL. III. 44 



210 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" I wish you," slie pursued, " to elect six 
gentlemen as a Council of Honour, who shall 
in some sense occupy the position of judges 
in what I have to disclose." 

" Are we not to hear it ? '" they asked. 

" Yes," she replied, " all of you. Indeed, 
I shall exact a promise that you are all 
present, and that not one of you shall leave 
the room till I have finished what I have to 



say. 



" Jove ! " cried a guest. " It is like a 



romance." 



" A sad romance," said Honoria. " Saj?-, 
rather, a page out of life's history. Do you 
all promise to let me do what I wish in my 
own way, and not to thwart me ? I ask it as 
a favour." 

The eldest gentleman there said it was not 
a favour she asked, it was a right, and that 
they would pledge themselves unhesitatingly, 
in testimony of which he called upon them 
to hold up their hands. Every hand was 
held up. 

" The man who forfeits his word," said 



MR. KALDANE SELLS HLS CONSEST. 211 

llonoria, " is imwortliy the name of gentle- 
man. Now if you please, we will adjourn. 
We shall meet a^ain at dinner." 

" And your lady friends ? " they asked. 

" You will see them afterwards. We dine 
at eight. At ten I shall expect to see you all 
here in this room." 

These words were intended as a dismissal, 
and they filed out. Two lingered behind, 
Louis Eedwood and Mr. Ilaldane. 

" What is all this mystery about, llonoria ? " 
inquired Eedwood. 

" You will learn to-night. I answer no 
questions now. Mr. Ilaldane, 1 should like a 
moment or two with you." 

" That is an order to me to go," said Red- 
wood savairelv. " Well, it will be all one in 
a hundred years. Ilaldane, you wiU fnid me 
in the biUiard room." 

He swung away in a furious temper. 
Slowly and surely Honoria seemed to be 
slipping from him. 

" You sent me a note," said Honoria to Mr. 
Ilaldane, when they were alone, " asking for 

4 4* 



212 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

money. I did not reply, because you are 
already sufficiently in my debt." 

" But you promised me," said Mr. Haldane, 
uneasily. 

" Not exactly. 1 think I said that before 
our party breaks up you should have more 
than you bargained for. That can hardly be 
construed into a promise. Mr. Haldane, do 
you think you have any claim upon me ? " 

" Only upon 3'our kindness," 

" You have no real claim upon me ? " 

" None that I know of." 

"It is I, perhaps, who have a claim upon 
you. Do not interrupt me. You will hear 
stranfver thimrs than that before we have 
done with each other. You lost heavilv last 
nicflit ? " 

"I did, and the night before as well. Ill 
luck has dogged me all my life." 

" It is unfortunate ; and you have done 
nothino; to deserve it ? " 

" Nothing whatever." 

Honoria's fixed gaze brought the colour to 
his cheeks. A scornful laugh escaped her. 



MR. IIALDANE SELLS UIS CONSENT. 213 

lie could not meet her gaze, and he looked 
down nervously. 

"It must be painful to you, Mr. llaldane," 
she said presently, " to find yourself merely 
a guest where once you were master." 

" Do you think I have not suffered enough 
without reminding me of it ? " he cried, with 
a movement of despair. 

" Others have suffered also ; but it is not 
of this matter I wish to speak just now. You 
have given your paper for your losses these 
last tw^o nights." 

•' Have they been blabbing about it ? " he 
asked sulkily. 

" It has reached my ears. IIow much have 
you lost ? " 

" Eight hundred pounds." 

" And you owe me six. That makes four- 
teen hundred. It is the price I am wdlhng to 
pay for something I wiU purchase of you." 

^Ir. Haldane caught his breath, and a 
moment afterwards said bitterlv, " I did not 
know I possessed anything of such value. I 
should like to hear what it is." 



214 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

"You have a daupfliter in London, Miss 
Agnes llaldane, of whom we spoke a Httle 
time as^o." 

" If she were my property," said Mr. Hal- 
dane, in a brutal tone, " I would sell her to 
you for that sum with pleasure." 

" Of that I have very little doubt," said 
Honoria, steadily. " Anyone acquainted with 
your history would give you credit for just so 
much feeling." 

" You are safe in insulting me," he re- 
marked. 

" Between you and me there can be no 
question of insult. We have an account to 
settle, and when it is settled the balance 
against vou will be one you cannot wipe 

off." 

He thought she referred to the money she 
had already given him, and he was silent, 
conscious that, apart from this fourteen 
hundred pounds, he was humiliatingly in her 
debt. Then it occurred to him that one of 
the ladies in her private apartments to whom 
they were to be introduced that night might 



MR. HALDANE SELLS HIS CONSENT. 215 

be his daughter. He put the question to her, 
and she answered plainly that his daughter 
Agnes was not in Chudleigh. 

" So you will not sell," she added, and 
turned as if about to leave him. 

" You have not told me what it is yuu 
wish to buy," he said quickly, stepping before 
her. 

" It is simply }'Our consent to Miss Hal- 
dane's marriage with Mr. Frederick Palmer, 
the gentleman she loves and to whom she is 
engaged." 

"Oh, that!" he exclaimed, with a frown. 
*' You seem to know a irreat deal about me." 

" More than you are aware of," she re- 
joined. " My time is valuable. Do you 
sell ? " 

It was imperative that he should pay the 
debt he had incurred, and there was no other 
way. Clear once more, there was still a 
chance, his credit remainini? crood, of his 
winning a bis stake from the men with whom 
he was in association. 

"I sell," he said. "I presume you wiU 



216 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

yourself convey this precious consent of mine 
to my daughter." 

" I shall have nothing to do with it," she' 
said. "You will write a letter to her, re- 
moving the ban you placed upon her happi- 
ness. I stipulate that my name shall not be 
mentioned." 

" I will write to her in the course of the 
day, and I will send the letter when I obtain 
her address." 

" You will write to her now, in this room, 
before you leave me. I will give you her 
address." 

" You do not trust me : vou will not take 
my word ? " 

" Good God ! " she cried, striking with her 
hand the chair by which she was standing. 
" What woman would, knowing what I 
know ? " 

He turned white to his lips. Passing his 
hand across his forehead he raised his eyes to 
her face, upon which horror and contempt 
were expressed. The face of the woman he 
had betrayed and degraded rose to his mind. 



MR. HALDANE SELLS HLS CONSENT. 217 

Appalled b}' the memory of his treachery, he 
whispered, 

" Who and what are you ? " 

" Write the letter," she said, pointing to a 
table,, upon which were writing materials. 
" What I purchase of you to-day for fourteen 
hundred pounds will not be worth fourteen 
pence to-morrow." 

He spoke no more, ])ut moving to the table, 
wrote the following letter, which he handed 
to her : 

'* My dear Daughter, — 

" You gave me a promise that you 
would not marry Mr. Frederick Palmer 
without my consent. I am pleased now to 
give you my consent to your union with that 
gentleman. 

" Your affectionate father, 

" C. Haldane." 

Honoria read the letter, and handing it 
back to him, dictated the address, which he 
also wTote. 



218 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Put the letter in the envelope, and fasten 
it," she said. " I will see that it is delivered. 
Here is a cheque for eight hundred pounds, 
and my receipt for the money you owe me." 

In silence he took the papers from her 
hand, and with a last cowardly look at her 
left the room. 



^^^5-^?^-^'^^-^^"^^' 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

RETRIBUTIOM. 

Not one of those present in the music room 
of the Manor Hall on this night was likely 
ever to forget the scene of which he was a 
witness. During the lioiirs before dinner 
there had been a great deal of conversation 
with respect to what Ilonoria had said to them 
in the morning, and they asked one another for 
an explanation of the mystery. No satisfac- 
tory information, however, could be given by 
any of the guests, although Honoria's state- 
ment that there was one amonij them who was 
acquainted with the ladies to whom they were 
to be introduced was frequently quoted. 
Louis Eedwood was questioned, and declared 
that he knew nothing whatever of them ; Mr. 
Haldane declared the same ; but both these 
gentlemen were stirred by an uneasy feeling 



220 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

that the surprise Honoria had in store for her 
guests was destined to be in some way un- 
pleasant to themselves. Major Causton, who 
was known to be in Honoria's confidence, was 
also closely questioned, but he declared upon 
his honour that although he knew of the pre- 
sence of two strange ladies in the house, he had 
no idea who tliey were, and had, in fact, not 
seen their faces. Honoria's desire that six of 
their body should be elected as a Council of 
Honour was much discussed ; they laughed at 
it rather, but felt bound to carry out her 
wish. The difficult point to decide was whom 
should they select. Eventually it was decided 
that the election should be by ballot, and 
among the six gentlemen so elected were the 
friends, Louis Eedwood and Mr. Haldane. 
" Bound to vote for you, old fellow," they 
said to Mr. Haldane, "for you were once 
master here. Devilish hard luck to lose such 
an estate." 

At the dinner table, where Honoria, as she 
had promised, made her appearance, she was 
asked what form the entertainment she had 



RETRIBUTION. 221 

provided for tliera would lake, and her 
reply was that it would take the form of a 
story. 

" Only a story, Honoria ! " protested a 
gentleman. " I was in hopes that you were 
going to give us a romance." 

*' Some persons might even call it that," 
said Ilonoria ; " but whatever it is you will 
find it sufficiently interesting." 

When, at ten o'clock, all the guests being 
assembled in the music-room, she made her 
entrance, a buzz of admiration went round. 
Her dress, her beauty, her jewels, were the 
theme of general admiration. " Gad ! " cried 
an elderly roue. " She deserves her posi- 
tion." The names of her Council of Honour 
were submitted to her, and her eyes gleamed 
as they rested upon the names of Mr. Hal- 
dane and Louis Kedwood. She inquired how 
the selection had been made, and was in- 
formed by ballot. 

" Do you believe in fate, gentlemen ? " 
she asked. Some did, and some did not. 
" There is something like fatality," she added, 



222 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" in Mr. Ilaldane and Mr. Eedwood beinj? on 
the Council. They micrht have to sit in 
judgment on themselves." 

They said that this would make the pro- 
ceeding all the more interesting, and then 
Honoria asked them to be seated, and, stand- 
ing, held up her hand for silence. 

" The stor}' I have to tell," she com- 
menced, " is a story of real life. It begins, 
as most other stories do, I suppose, with one 
man and one woman. 

" The woman, at that time a young girl, 
with no experience of the world such as we 
possess, was living in the home of a lady who 
had adopted her, and who loved her as a 
daughter. She was foolishly ignorant and 
foohshl}- simple. The man was a man of the 
world, who I have no doubt had already had 
many adventures and experiences. He was 
so clever as to be able to overmatch sim- 
plicit}', and he succeeded here as doubtless he 
succeeded elsewhere. A year after they first 
met they were living together, and they were 
not man and wife." 



EETRIBUTION. 223 

The gentlemen shifted rather awkwardly 
on their chairs. Their hostess was telling 
them, so far, nothing new or novel, but to 
hear -the familiar story told in jolain, direct 
language by a woman, and such a woman as 
Tlonoria, was an entirely new experience to 
them, and stirred up feelings which they 
would rather had lain dormant. 

" Of course," she proceeded, " he had 
promised her marriage, and of course had 
not fulfilled his promise. But for a 
little time she believed herself to be a 
wife, because he had so far satisfied her 
scruples as to go through some cere- 
mony with her in a private house which she 
understood to be leufall\- bindinf^. I 
have told you that she was a simple, 
foolish girl, but she is not the only one 
who has trusted a man's word and has 
been deceived. 

" The ceremony I speak of took place in 
America, where the man had followed the 
woman. Mr. Haldane, may I inquire if my 
story is wearying you ? " 



2J4 THE MAKCH OF FATE. 

Mr. Haldane, white and trembling, had 
invohmtarily risen to his feet, but at this 
direct question he became aware that general 
attention was drawn to him, and with an 
attempt to regain his self-possession, he 
jauntily waved his hand, and resumed his 
seat. He could not, liowever, sufficiently 
command his voice to reply. Honoria con- 
tinued : 

" In Eno-land it Avould have been more 
difficult to carry out such a deception. In 
America, where the woman was an entire 
stranger, he found it comparatively easy. I 
must mention another circumstance in con- 
nection with my story ; the man played his 
part under an assumed name. 

" Beginning to be tired of his victim, he 
returned to England in her company. They 
hved for a little while in London. From 
London they went to Paris, and there the 
woman learned that she was not married, and 
there a child was born, a girl. 

" And there the man deserted the woman, 
and left her to perish. From that time until 



RETRIBUTION. 225 

the present nioment she has never seen the 
face of the villain who ruined her Ufe. 

" I perfectly understand what T am saying. 
I perfectly understand ray position. I know 
the place I hold in the world, and I am aware 
that there are shameful points of resemblance 
between this woman and myself. Pray do 
not interrupt me, or you will make the task I 
have set myself, and intend to perform, more 
difficult than it already is. I am speaking 
plainly for various reasons, one of which is 
that our acquaintance ends this night. 
Thanking you for the trouble I have put you 
to in visiting this house, I beg that you will 
to-morrow morning leave me to a duty I see 
before me. 

" I must not do injustice to the man I have 
spoken of. When he deserted the woman in 
Paris he did not leave her to die in want. 
He employed agents, through whom he con- 
tributed to her support. He did not think 
she would live long to trouble him. In 
this he was mistaken. The woman is now 
living. 

VOL. III. 4:0 



226 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

*' But there is a moral as well as a 
physical death. This kind of death came to 
the woman. 

" Weak, foolish, despairing, she took to 
drink. You know what that means. Am I 
not speaking plainly ? 

" There is one law for a man, and another 
law for a woman. The woman of my story 
fell. The man retained his place. She 
crawled through the world ; he went, smiling, 
through it. This is called justice. 

" I perceive that Mr. Haldane continues to 
be restless and disturbed. If he doubts my 
story, if he thinks it is a jest I am playing 
upon him, let me inform him that I am a 
living proof of its truth. 

" It has not often happened that a woman, 
wronged by a man as this woman was, is able 
to turn the tables upon him. It happens now 
and here. 

" Alone, helpless, degraded, the woman 
crawled her way through the world. She 
even lost her child ; she was told it died. It 
was false. The child lived, and lives. 



RETRIBUTION. 227 

" I promised to introduce you to two 
ladies who are living with me here in a state 
of seclusion. I am about to redeem my 
proiriise. 

" Before I do so let me confess that in 
asking you to elect a Council of Honour I 
was hardly in earnest. Even if it were not a 
sad joke I should decline to accept two of the 
persons you have named. You, and they, 
will know to whom I refer. The Council, 
therefore, does not exist, not being com- 
petent, as a body, to decide a question of 
honour. If they were, it would not alter the 
story I have told you, or the judgment the 
world will pass upon it."' 

She moved to the door, and passed through 
it. Before the excited conversation into 
which her guests fell could take definite form 
or expression she returned, accompanied by 
two ladies. 

One was an elderlv lady, whose bearin"- 
was distinguished by a peculiar sadness and 
dignity. The other was a lady, decently 
dressed, upon whose face degradation had set 

45* 



228 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

its seal. Her cheeks were bloated, her eyes 
were bleared, her form trembled and shook, 
her hands were stretched forth helplessly, 
pitifully. Had it not been for the support of 
the elderly lady and Honoria, between whom 
she stood, the image of hopeless despair and 
imbecility, she would have fallen to the 
ground. 

" This is my mother," said Honoria, draw- 
ing herself to her full height, " of whose 
existence I was aware only a few short weeks 
ago." 

They gazed at her and her companions in 
silent wonder. For two or three minutes no 
word M'as spoken. Then Honoria turned to 
the elderly lady. 

" Mrs. Kennedy," she said, " when my 
mother, then a young girl, was living in your 
home, she made the acquaintance of a man 
known to ^^ou and her as Mr. Julius Clifford. 
Kindly look around, and tell me if he is 
present in this toom." 

" That is he," said Mrs. Kennedy, pointing 
to Mr. Haldane. 



RETRIBUTION. 229 

" Infamous ! Infamous ! " 

The murmurs came from the guests. There 
was not one among them who could have 
claimed a spotless record, but they were not 
directly concerned in this adventure, and, 
being thus relieved, they were not slow in 
pronouncing judgment. The crime of the 
exposed man was that he had been found out ; 
for such a crime there is no forijiveness ; a 
man's own peers will unhesitatingly condemn 
him when he comes to this pass. 

" Yes," said llonoria, " it is infamous. 
That man is nn' father, and for that man I 
entertain a liorror too deep for utterance. 
This house, which once was his, belongs now 
to me. Who shall say that I, beinfj- his 
daughter, have no right here? Who shall 
say that my mother, who should have been 
his wife, has no right here ? Let him carry 
away with him the memory of this scene as 
part of his punishment for his infamous crime. 
Human justice has failed, but by Divine judg- 
ment he stands condemned ! " 

She kissed her mother, and conducted her 



230 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

and Mrs. Kennedy to the door. Wlien those 
two ladies were gone she spoke agam : 

" Mr. Ilaldane, 3'ou sleep not another night 
under this roof, or under any roof which 
covers me. You once turned another daugh- 
ter, my half-sister, an angel of purity and 
goodness, from your house, and threw her 
upon the mercy of the world — as you threw 
my mother upon its mercy. But her fate is a 
happier one. I, who am not worthy to speak 
her name, pray that God will shield and pro- 
tect her, and make all her future bright and 
happy ! As you turned her from your house 
I turn you now from mine. Mr. Eedwood, 
you and I have been for some time past play- 
ing a comedy — you called it so, I remember. 
It is finished. The curtain has fallen. From 
this nio[ht you and I are strangers. Gentle- 
men, farewell. I thank you for your patience. 
Our acquaintance is at an end." 

They bowed to her as she passed from the 
room — all with the exception of Louis Eed- 
wood and Mr. Ilaldane. Louis Eedwood 
stood lookino^ after her, chewing his mous- 



RETRIBUTION. 231 

taclie ; there was a furious light in his eyes, 
but he knew that he was powerless, and that 
Honoria, the woman he had betrayed, had 
triumphed. Mr. Ilaldane, with his head Ijowed 
dovyn, slunk away. Xot a friendly word was 
spoken to him, not a friendly hand held out. 



..^mm-^ 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

SISTEES. 

Not more than a mile from Buckinorham 
Palace Eoad stands a little church which still 
retains something- of a rustic air, althouirh it 
is within measurable distance of the heart of 
this great city, where the hum of restless, 
eager life is heard through all the waking 
hours of the day. An ancient tree has 
resisted the march of progress, and its 
branches spread over the pretty porch, birds' 
nests are there, which have witnessed many a 
happy mating, and when the snow is on the 
ground kind-hearted people throw crumbs to 
the sparrows wdio find shelter therein. A 
fitting place, therefore, for a w^edding, in 
winter or summer — indeed, all the vear 
round, for love has no special season, but 
buds and blossoms without reference to the 
calendar. 



SISTERS. L'.'53 

At the piesent time, wliicli happens to be a 
sunny da}' in early October, a forgotten day 
in summer wliich has suddenly put in its 
clain*], t(^ llie delight of old and young, there 
is a little gathering of idle people around the 
old church, basking in the sunshine, and 
listeninjj- to the twittering of the birds which 
this forgotten summer day is shamefull}' de- 
ceivinL^ Two weddinj^s are to be celebrated 
there, and the idlers are waiting for the 
wedding parties. While they are chattering 
below on tlie roadway, and the birds are 
chatterino- ubove in the branches, with that 
special lightheartedness which distinguishes 
such occasions, a woman, plainly dressed and 
closely veiled, approaches the church, and 
enters il. Xo one takes any notice of her, 
the entire interest beins^ absorbed in the 
wedding parties, the carriages containing 
which are just turning the corner of a street 
about tliirtv yards away. A murmur passes 
round. "Here the}^ come — here they come," 
and the genially disposed idlers form them- 
selves into two lines, with a sufficient space 



234 THE MARCH OF FATE. 

between to allow the important actors to pass 
through. 

There are two carriages, which is rather a 
disappointment to the spectators, who would 
have preferred a dozen, or more ; but as in 
the arrano'ements for the weddings there was 
no reason why their inclinations should have 
been consulted they have no reasonable cause 
for complaint. They soon and quickly solace 
themselves by staring at the parties. From 
one of the carria^^es descend Ames Haldane, 
Frederick Palmer, and his father, and Mr. 
Barlow. From the other Eachel Diprose, 
George Millington and his father, and Mrs. 
Barlow. Mr. Barlow is to give Miss Haldane 
away, and Mrs. Barlow stands female sponsor 
to Eachel Diprose. 

There is a difference of opinion as to which 
of the brides is the prettier, but all are agreed 
that they are both the very picture of happi- 
ness. Perhaps for openly expressed happiness 
George Millington would take the palm, but 
joy is flowing in the hearts of brides and 
bridegrooms alike. Faithful love, tried in 



SISTERS. 233 

adversity, and never found wanting, is at 
length rewarded. The dark days are over, 
,and though winter is near, love's sun is shining 
l:)rightly and tenderly. 

Tlie words which bind each to the other are 
spoken. The rings are on the fingers, the 
kisses are exchanged, the names are signed. 
Agnes opens her arms to Eachel, and the girls 
are locked in a fond embrace. 

" Dear Kachel ! " murmurs Agnes, and can 
say no more, her heart is so full. 

" My dear mistress ! " murmurs Eachel. 

What need for further words between 
them ? Standing on the threshold of a new 
life these fair young creatures are the symbols 
of sweetness and faithfulness. 

Eacliel is the first to recover herself. She 
slips to the side of her George. 

" You've got me at last, George," she says, 
crying and laughing at the same time. 

" And I mean to keep you, Eachel," says 
George, kissing her again in the church — 
which I believe is against the regulations. 

" But George, dear " 



23G THE MARCH OF FATE. 

" Yes, my darling ? " 

" You were so impatient ! I was almost 
afraid I was going to lose you, and that 
another girl would stand in my place." 

" As if that could have ever happened ! " 
says incredulous George. " Well, dad ? " 

" Well, my boy ? " says Mr. Millington. 

That is about all that passed between father 
and son. How feeble are written words ! 
How eloquent are tones and looks ! 

Upon Agnes' finger is another plain ring 
of gold, with a single letter engraved upon its 
inner surface — H. Agnes looks around the 
church, and her eyes rest upon the figure of 
the woman still closely veiled, who had 
entered before the ceremony. She leaves her 
bridegroom's side, and goes to the pew in 
which this woman is standing. 

" Honoria ! " 

" Miss Haldane — forgive me — Mrs. Palmer !" 

" Not to you, Honoria. I am Agnes ! " 

" Agnes ! " 

" Kiss me, sister ! " 

" May you live a happy life ! " murmured 



SISTERS. 237 

Ilonoria. And the si-sters embraced, and 
went their several ways. But before Ilonoria 
departed slie called the clergyman and put 
a purge into his hand. 

" Give this to poor people in your parish," 
she said, " from two happy brides." 



THE END. 



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